Leaving Gun in Carryon Bag Will Mean Losing Concealed Carry Permit in Pittsburgh

By Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje
Reporter
Beth Brelje is an investigative journalist covering Pennsylvania politics, courts, and the commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send her your story ideas:
October 8, 2021 Updated: October 8, 2021

You can’t bring more than 3.4 ounces of shampoo in your carry-on bag onto a commercial airplane.

Or a gun.

But too many travelers at Pittsburgh International Airport have forgotten the ‘no guns in your carry-on rule’ and now, officials there are cracking down. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) workers have found 27 firearms at the security checkpoint so far in 2021.

“Unfortunately, it appears that 2021 will be a record-breaking year for the number of guns found in passengers’ carry-on bags at our airport. This is not the kind of record we aspire to break,” Pennsylvania’s Acting United States Attorney Steve Kaufman said at a press conference this week at the airport, hosted by the TSA. “Almost inevitably, the passenger being interviewed claims that they forgot that the gun was in their bag and no criminal charges are filed. Nevertheless, bringing guns to the checkpoint is completely unacceptable and poses a serious security risk.”

Whenever the TSA finds a gun during a security screen, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, local Allegheny County Police, and TSA all review the incident.

The TSA may impose a civil or criminal enforcement action including fines ranging from $1,500 to $13,910 per violation, depending on whether the gun is loaded or unloaded and the accessibility of the ammunition.

Now travelers departing from Pittsburgh face the additional penalty of having their concealed carry permit revoked. In Pennsylvania these permits are issued through the county sheriff.

“We will be requesting county sheriffs to rescind that resident’s firearms concealed carry license due to negligence,” Kaufman said. “We have already secured the cooperation of the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office to revoke concealed carry permits of residents who are determined to have acted negligently. And we will be contacting Sheriff’s Offices in other counties in Western Pennsylvania requesting that they consider enacting the same policy.”

If you wish to bring a gun as you travel, there is a way to transport it legally.

Passengers may put unloaded firearms in checked baggage, inside a locked, hard-sided container. The firearms must be declared to the airline before traveling, the TSA website says.

Ammunition and firearm parts, including magazines, clips, bolts, and firing pins are also prohibited in carry-on baggage, but may be transported in checked baggage.

It is worth noting that the TSA does list some unusual items that are allowed both in carry-on and checked bags, including antlers, bicycle chains, bowling balls (but not bowling pins), boxing gloves, and cowboy spurs, although the final decision rests with the TSA officer on whether an item is allowed through the checkpoint.

Beth Brelje
Beth Brelje
Reporter
Beth Brelje is an investigative journalist covering Pennsylvania politics, courts, and the commonwealth’s most interesting and sometimes hidden news. Send her your story ideas: