TSA intercepts loaded gun at Pittsburgh International Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 7, 2024
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport detected this firearm at the checkpoint on May 3. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH – A Greensburg, Pa., woman was stopped with a loaded gun by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport when they caught her with the weapon at the security checkpoint on Friday, May 3. The 9mm firearm was loaded with six bullets, plus one in the chamber.

The good catch by TSA officers on Friday brings the total number of guns caught at the airport’s checkpoints to 12 so far this year.

“I would like to acknowledge my appreciation to the TSA officers who acted to ensure that the woman did not maintain control of her loaded weapon inside the terminal,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “The fact that there was a bullet in the chamber is an accident waiting to happen. Responsible gun owners know where their firearms are at all times and they know not to bring one in their carry-on bags.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a weapon into a checkpoint can reach up to $15,000, depending on the specific weapon and the 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. This also applies to travelers who are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck® program, who will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges if they bring a gun to a checkpoint.  

The complete list of civil penalties is posted online

When a gun is detected in the checkpoint X-ray unit, the conveyor belt is stopped and the police are notified. Police remove the carry-on bag from the X-ray unit because TSA does not want its officers handling firearms. Police determine whether a traveler is arrested or issued a criminal citation. Meanwhile the remaining passengers in the checkpoint lane either wait for the issue to be resolved or they are shifted to another checkpoint lane, thus delaying dozens of passengers from getting to their gates.

TSA firearms catches at airport checkpoints at Pittsburgh International Airport, 2017 to 2024










(as of 5/3/24)

Pittsburgh International Airport









Last year, a record 6,737 firearms were caught at checkpoints nationwide and Pittsburgh was part of that disturbing trend.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).