The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it seized its 12th firearm at a security checkpoint at Pittsburgh for 2022. Of those 12 guns, one was a handgun that was found in the bag of a Pittsburgh International Airport employee. In the first week of June alone, TSA employees recovered two firearms from two different passengers three days apart.
In 2021, TSA seized a record 5,792 firearms at airport checkpoints. The previous record was 4,432 in 2019. When traveling with a firearm, passengers are subject to state and federal regulations. Under the federal regulations, all firearms must be unloaded, secured, and locked in a hard-sided firearm case in checked baggage. Live ammunition is also prohibited on airplanes and in secure areas and must be properly packed and checked. The firearms must be checked regardless of whether the owner has a license to carry or works in law enforcement.
Civil penalties will apply to those who bring firearms into secured areas at the airport. The civil fines range up to $13,910 and forfeiture of their weapon. TSA maintains the discretion to refer travelers for criminal prosecution if they are found to have a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm with easily accessible ammunition and other contraband.
With the post-pandemic increase in air travel and summer vacation being in full swing, the chances of TSA confiscating a firearm are increasing. To educate flyers, the TSA has posted a video with detailed instructions on how to safely travel with a firearm:
Tips for flying with a firearm:
Always check your bags to make sure you don’t have a firearm in your carry-on.
Be sure to store your firearm unloaded and in a hard-sided case.
Check your firearm at the checkout counter before you proceed to security.
Declare your firearm to the airline agent at the airport counter.