TSA intercepts fifth gun so far this month at Pittsburgh International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, May 24, 2024
TSA officers at Pittsburgh International Airport detected this firearm at the checkpoint on May 23. (TSA photo)

PITTSBURGH – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport intercepted their fifth gun so far this month when they stopped a Texas man from bringing his 9mm handgun through the security checkpoint yesterday, Thursday, May 23. It was the 16th firearm that the TSA team at Pittsburgh has detected at a checkpoint this year.

“Yesterday was the second busiest day in TSA history in terms of the high volume of individuals who were screened at our checkpoints nationwide,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “It’s the Memorial Day weekend travel period and this is no time to be caught with an illegal or prohibited item among your carry-on items. It slows down the line and this is a very busy place. Nobody wants to wait in a checkpoint line because someone with a gun was careless and brought his gun with him.”

The individual “now faces a stiff federal financial penalty for his actions in having a gun at the checkpoint,” Keys-Turner said. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

The Allegheny County confiscated the weapon. Police confiscate firearms, not TSA.

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 5/23/24)

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).