Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport prevented a Virginia Beach man from bringing his handgun onto a flight on Wednesday (Nov. 8). The 9mm gun was packed in a carry-on bag and was loaded with 16 bullets, including one in the chamber. It was the 27th gun caught by TSA officers at the airport checkpoints so far this year, which ties the record that was set last year.
The gun was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by the local police, who cited the man on a weapons charge. He also faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.
The case will be forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.
“The frequency with the number of travelers that we see bringing their guns to our security checkpoints is alarming,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Passengers are not permitted to carry their firearms into the cabin of their aircraft. With that said, travelers may transport a firearm to their destination as long as it is packed safely and properly. To travel with a gun, it should be unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case and then taken to the airline check-in counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. We mandate that travelers declare their firearms with the airline to be transported with checked baggage to ensure that travelers do not have access to guns during a flight.”
Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).