PITTSBURGH – A West Virginia woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) early this morning, April 22 when they detected a loaded handgun in her carry-on bag.
The Preston County, West Virginia, resident was stopped at the checkpoint with a green camouflage-designed handgun that was loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber. It marked the 10th gun stopped at the checkpoint so far this calendar year. In 2018, TSA officers at PIT Airport caught 34 firearms at the checkpoint.
TSA contacted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the woman, a resident of Arthurdale, West Virginia, for questioning before citing her on weapons violations.
In total, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
Firearms caught at the checkpoint
As of 4-22-19
Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT)
When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. With the busy travel season in full swing, guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed carry permits are not allowed to bring guns past TSA checkpoints. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.