NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in a carry-on bag at a Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport checkpoint earlier this morning, Aug. 9.
The woman, a resident of nearby Camden, North Carolina, was stopped by TSA officers who spotted the 9 mm handgun loaded with five bullets as it was going through the checkpoint X-ray machine. The woman told officials that she forgot that she had her loaded gun with her.
The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the firearm as it passed along the conveyor belt inside the woman’s bag. TSA officers immediately contacted the airport police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the baby-blue colored gun and cited the woman on a weapons charge. TSA can also cite someone up to $12,000 for violating laws related to airport security. The typical first offense for bringing a firearm to a checkpoint is $3,000.
There is a right way to travel with a firearm and a wrong way. The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the firearm must be taken to the airline check-in counter and declared.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
The Transportation Security Administration screens approximately 2.5 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.