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Airport screeners find most unchecked guns ever

| Saturday, April 23, 2016, 3:15 p.m.

Thanks in part to a 28-year-old woman who tried to pass her unloaded gun through a Pittsburgh International Airport checkpoint last week, the Transportation Security Administration broke the record for the most firearms found in carry-on bags nationwide in a one-week span.

TSA discovered 73 firearms in carry-on luggage from April 15 to 21 at airports across the country.

The agency reported that 68 were loaded and 27 had a round in the chamber.

The previous weekly record of 68 firearms was set in October.

The unidentified California woman caught at Pittsburgh International Airport on April 16 told authorities that she forgot her unloaded .38-caliber pistol was in her bag. She was not arrested, but her weapon was confiscated.

It was the third gun found by Pittsburgh TSA screeners this month and the fifth for the year. Local screeners discovered 20 guns in carry-on luggage last year and 14 in 2014.

Federal law bars guns in carry-on bags, but they can be transported in checked luggage if they are unloaded and declared to the airline.

TSA carry-on screeners will confiscate realistic replica firearms, pellet and airsoft guns, brass knuckles, ammunition, stun guns and many kinds of knives.

“Unfortunately, these sorts of occurrences are all too frequent, which is why we talk about these finds,” said TSA spokesman Bob Burns in a press release.

“Sure, it's great to share the things that our officers are finding, but at the same time, each time we find a dangerous item, the line is slowed down and a passenger that likely had no ill intent ends up with a citation or in some cases is even arrested. The passenger can face a penalty as high as $11,000.”

Carl Prine is a Tribune-Review investigative reporter. Reach him at or 412-320-7826.

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