LATROBE, Pa. (KDKA) – It happened again: someone showed up at a local airport with a loaded handgun, but this time it was in a stroller with a child.
A West Virginia man was arrested after TSA officers allegedly found a loaded gun tucked into the pocket of his baby stroller on Thursday.READ MORE: UPMC: If You Are Immunocompromised, Get A COVID-19 Booster Shot
The TSA says he said he forgot it was in there.
“He usually takes his dogs for a walk, with the stroller and the child in the stroller, and he likes to have his loaded gun with him,” TSA Spokesperson Lisa Farbstein said over Zoom.
Police said the .380 caliber handgun had six bullets in it. Now, in addition to criminal charges, Farbstein said the man will also face stiff fines.
“This is really a mistake that’s going to end up costing this individual thousands of dollars,” Farbstein said.READ MORE: Pennsylvania Senate Committee Approves Bill To Ban Smoking In Vehicles With Young Children
The TSA says this is the fourth gun caught at the airport so far this year, surpassing 2019’s total of three — and that’s pre-pandemic when significantly more people were flying. In fact, Farbstein said since the pandemic began, the TSA has seen an increase in guns at airports nationwide.
“It looks as if that trend is continuing. We are seeing more firearms than we have previously,” Farbstein said.
She said it’s doubled from five for every one million passengers to ten. Just like the man Thursday at Arnold Palmer, Farbstein said the most common excuse they hear is that people just forgot they had a gun with them.
“None of these excuses fly,” Farbstein said. “You own a firearm, you really do need to know where it is at all times.”
Karen Keys-Turner, the TSA’s federal security director for the airport, said not knowing where your firearm is “is an accident waiting to happen.”MORE NEWS: McKeesport Firefighters Volunteer To Drive Kids To And From School Amid Bus Driver Shortage
Travelers can’t carry their guns onto airplanes, but they can pack guns in checked baggage if they’re properly packed and declared. You can learn more about that here.