TSA agents stop man trying to carry loaded handgun aboard plane at Pittsburgh International Airport

PITTSBURGH — A Cambria County man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at Pittsburgh International Airport Tuesday after they determined he was trying to board with a loaded .380 handgun, the TSA said in a press release.

The gun had a bullet in the chamber, the TSA said.

Tuesday’s stop was the 27th at the airport checkpoint this year, according to the TSA. Last year, TSA officers confiscated 34 firearms at the airport’s checkpoint, the TSA said.

The Johnstown man was detained for questioning by Allegheny County Police, which confiscated the weapon, according to the TSA.

The TSA said a total of 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year — an average of about 11.6 firearms per day. That is approximately a seven percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017, the TSA said.

Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded, and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber, according to the TSA.

When someone shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident, the TSA said. With the busy travel season in full swing, guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement, the TSA said. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags.

In addition, TSA said it has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,000.

The complete list of penalties is posted online.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies as they may have additional requirements.

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