PITTSBURGH, PA. – Authorities with the Transportation Security Administration said that an Arkansas man was arrested on Tuesday after a handgun was discovered in his carry-on bag.
According to the TSA, officers at the Pittsburgh International Airport stopped the man after the 9 mm firearm was discovered unloaded, but with two gun magazines with 16 bullets in them packed alongside the weapon.
TSA officials said that when an officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, airport police were alerted. When officers arrived, they confiscated the weapon and arrested the man.
The Arkansas man who was not named, also faces a federal financial civil penalty. Federal penalties for bringing weapons to the checkpoint can run as high as $15,000.
“It is a shame that not all travelers recognize the fact that guns are not permitted to be carried onto a flight,” Karen Keys-Turner, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport said. “It is the busy spring travel season and when someone shows up with a firearm at the checkpoint the conveyor belt is stopped until the police arrive and can remove the carry-on bag from the X-ray machine to safely secure the weapon. Bringing a firearm to a security checkpoint not only slows down the individuals in that lane, but it is also a security and safety concern. Guns should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage.”
Officials with the TSA said that passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared.
According to TSA officials, 6,542 firearms were caught last year at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.