WASHINGTON (Newsradio 1020 KDKA) - Fewer travelers this year has not meant a decrease in guns at airports.
The Transportation Security Administration has detected more guns at airport checkpoints than they did in 2019. Three times as many.
In July 2019, the TSA detected 5.1 guns per million people screened. In July 2020, that rate jumped to 15.3 guns per million.
“TSA is diligently working to ensure our employees and passengers are safe and secure while traveling during a pandemic, and yet we are noticing a significant increase in loaded firearms coming into checkpoints,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
At Pittsburgh International, 10 guns have been detected by agents so far this year.
Penalties for unloaded guns start at $2,050 and they start at $4,100 for loaded guns.
“Travelers must understand that firearms are prohibited items at airports and in the passenger cabins of aircraft. As hard as we are working to mitigate other risks at this time, no one should be introducing new ones,” said Pekoske.
Of the guns being caught by TSA officers, Pekoske said 80 percent are loaded.
While it is not illegal to travel with a firearm, but passengers must do so properly. In addition to TSA requirements for traveling with a firearm, airlines may also have additional requirements. Plus, passengers should be aware of local and state firearms laws in each point of travel.