TSA officer at Pittsburgh International Airport stops Pennsylvania woman with loaded handgun at checkpoint

Local Press Release
Friday, January 14, 2022
This gun was detected by TSA in a traveler’s backpack at Pittsburgh International Airport on Jan. 14. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH – A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Pittsburgh International Airport prevented a Westmoreland County, Pa., woman from bringing a loaded handgun onto her flight this morning (Jan. 14).

The woman, a resident of Ligonier, Pa., was in possession of a loaded .380 caliber handgun that was packed in her knapsack. She told officials that she forgot that she had her loaded gun with her.

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

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty of up to $13,900 to individuals 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. 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.