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Pittsburgh airport travelers with guns will lose carry permits, federal officials say

This handgun was discovered in the carry-on bag of a passenger boarding a flight at the Baltimore-Washington International Airport. (Photo courtesy of TSA/TNS)

Too many people have been showing up at the airport with guns, so federal authorities have started a new program to revoke their permits to carry.

Steve Kaufman, the acting U.S. attorney, said on Wednesday that the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office will rescind permits to carry for travelers who get caught with a gun in their carry-on bag at Pittsburgh International Airport security checkpoints.

At an airport news conference held by the Transportation Security Administration, Kaufman said that 2021 appears to be a record-breaking year for the number of guns in carry-on bags.

“This is not the kind of record we aspire to break,” he said.

He said his office, the FBI, the Allegheny County police and TSA all review every gun incident. Security has found 27 guns so far this year, including five in a six-day span last month and early this month.

Passengers almost always say they forgot they had a gun in their bag, Kaufman said. No one files criminal charges because federal authorities have to prove intent and they can’t. Even so, Kaufman said, “bringing guns to the checkpoint is completely unacceptable and poses a serious security risk.”

Passengers with guns already face fines from TSA, but Kaufman said a new deterrent will be rescinding concealed carry permits.

The U.S. attorney’s office also will contact sheriff’s offices in other counties to do the same.

“So the message to the flying public is this: Check your bags five times if you have to, but make one-hundred percent sure that your carry-on bags do not contain a firearm or other dangerous weapon,” Kaufman said. “That’s responsible gun ownership, which is essential to protect the flying public.”


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