PITTSBURGH – A California man was the second traveler who was caught with a handgun by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) security checkpoint yesterday, April 22, hours after a West Virginia woman also was stopped with a gun.
The man, a resident of Chula Vista, California, was caught with a .22 caliber revolver in the late afternoon. It was not loaded. The woman, a resident of Arthurdale, West Virginia, was caught in the morning with a 9 mm handgun loaded with eight bullets.
They marked the 10th and 11th guns stopped by TSA officers at the checkpoint so far this calendar year. In 2018, TSA officers at PIT airport caught 34 firearms at the checkpoint.
In each instance, TSA contacted the Allegheny County Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearms and detained the travelers for questioning before citing each 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
2019 (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.