PITTSBURGH, Pa. – A Mayport woman was stopped by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Pittsburgh International Airport on Sunday, Sept. 24, when they detected a loaded handgun among her belongings.
The woman, a resident of Mayport, Pa., now faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty. Federal penalties for bringing weapons to the checkpoint can run as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.
“We are seeing way too many travelers bringing their guns to our security checkpoints. It’s as if there is a gun epidemic. Yet there is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to one of our checkpoints,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.
“Travelers are responsible for the items that they have in their possession. I strongly encourage gun owners to take a few moments before they come to the airport to take a good look inside any carry-on bags that they plan to bring to the airport—backpacks, roller bags, messenger bags, handbags, briefcases, duffle bags, and so on–to ensure that they do not have a firearm or ammunition inside.”
“If they want to travel with their firearm, they should refresh their familiarity with the proper procedures on how to pack a gun for a flight. Firearms should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. Responsible gun owners know this.”
Keys-Turner said the woman’s .38 caliber revolver was loaded with six bullets.
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.
Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent were loaded. So far this year, TSA has stopped more than 4,000 guns at security checkpoints across the country.
Sunday’s incident marked the 31st gun found this year at Pittsburgh International Airport airport checkpoints.
The woman’s name was not released.