Cranberry man had loaded gun at airport

September 16, 2020 Cranberry Local News

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A loaded handgun was found in a carry-on bag at Pittsburgh International Airport on Sept. 2.

A Butler County man was found with a loaded handgun at Pittsburgh International Airport earlier this month, authorities said.

The man, who is from Cranberry Township, was stopped Sept. 2 with a 9 mm pistol loaded with 15 bullets in his carry-on bag, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

A TSA officer noticed the gun on the X-ray machine's monitor at the security checkpoint. The pistol was confiscated.

TSA officials contacted Allegheny County Police, who detained the man for questioning. The suspect was later released. Police did not return a telephone call for comment.

Authorities did not release the man's name because the incident remains under investigation, and no charges have been filed.

The incident marked the 11th gun found at the Pittsburgh airport security checkpoint this year. In one of those incidents, a Mars man was stopped Feb. 25 with a .380-caliber pistol loaded with five bullets, including one in the chamber.

In 2019, authorities said, TSA officers found 35 firearms at the checkpoint at Pittsburgh International Airport. In 2018, officers seized 34 guns.

TSA officials note that people who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement.

In addition, TSA can assess civil penalties, including fines as high as $13,669 for gun violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100, according to the TSA website.

To travel with a gun, it must be unloaded in a locked hard-side case in checked baggage only.

Nationwide in 2019, authorities said, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12 firearms per day — around a 5 percent increase from 2018.

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Jim Smith

Jim Smith

Grew up in upstate New York. Earned my Journalism degree in 1983 from the University of Texas at Austin. Worked for two newspapers in Fayette County (Pa.) before starting at the Butler Eagle in 1998.