PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania airport has set a new record for the number of guns found at an airport security checkpoint.
According to the Transportation Security Administration, On Tuesday, Oct. 10 a man from Uniontown was stopped at a security checkpoint with a 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets in his carry-on bag. When TSA detected the weapon, police were contacted, who confiscated the gun and arrested the traveler.
This was the 36th gun found at a security checkpoint in the airport this year, breaking the old record of 35 guns found set back in 2019.
“We seem to have a very disturbing number of guns being carried to our checkpoints this month,” said Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Tuesday’s gun catch was the sixth firearm caught in the first 10 days of the month and the 36th gun caught so far this year. Thirty-six is now our record-high number of guns caught at our checkpoints in a single year. Let me be very clear when I say that there is absolutely no excuse for bringing a gun to our checkpoints. Stop and think about it–you certainly can’t carry a firearm onto your flight.”
TSA expects that the total number of guns stopped at airport checkpoints will grow by the end of the year.
“Not only was this individual arrested, but he also faces a stiff federal financial penalty that is likely to cost him thousands of dollars,” Keys-Turner added.
Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty. the TSA has the right to issue these penalties, which can be in excess of $15,000. 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.
You can see the complete list of civil penalties by clicking here.
The TSA said that when a gun is detected by the x-ray machine at a security checkpoint, the conveyor belt is stopped and the police are notified. Police will then remove the bag from the machine and will determine whether the traveler will be arrested or issued a citation. This process holds up the line, and dozens of passengers will be delayed to get to their gate.
Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide. During the first nine months of 2023, TSA officers detected more than 5,000 guns at checkpoints across the country and the agency is on track to surpass the record-setting number of guns caught nationwide in 2022. “Unfortunately, Pittsburgh International Airport is part of this unfortunate trend,” Keys-Turner said.