Pennsylvania woman arrested after TSA stops her with loaded gun at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, November 18, 2021
TSA officers stopped a Pennsylvania woman from carrying this loaded handgun onto her flight on Nov. 18. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A Brownsville, Pa., woman was caught with a loaded handgun by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) at the security checkpoint early this morning (Nov. 18).

The black .380 caliber handgun had a gold-colored trigger and was loaded with six bullets including one in the chamber. The woman also was toting an additional gun magazine with seven bullets and had six additional bullets loose in her carry-on bag.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Allegheny County Police were alerted and confiscated the weapon before arresting the woman. TSA forwarded the incident to be followed up with the issuance of a federal financial civil penalty.

The U.S. States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Pennsylvania recently announced that in firearm incidents at the checkpoint that involve an individual who possesses a valid concealed carry permit, they will be requesting County Sheriffs to rescind that resident’s firearms concealed carry license due to negligence.

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, travelers need to take an extra minute or two to get a good look inside their carry-on bags to ensure that they have no prohibited—or illegal—items,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Anything from an oversized liquid such as a bottle of water or energy drink to knives and guns need to be left at home. The airport is getting back to near pre-pandemic travel volume and bringing a prohibited item to the checkpoint will not only delay your checkpoint experience, but it will also delay other travelers.”

TSA reserves the right to issue a $3,000 to $13,910 civil penalty to travelers who bring weapons with them to a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating or aggravating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Travelers are allowed to transport their firearms as checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane with checked baggage. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

TSA Firearms Caught at the Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2021







(As of 11-18-21)

Guns caught at PIT checkpoints






*Fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.