NORFOLK, Va.—A Transportation Security Administration officer detected a loaded semi-automatic handgun in a carry-on bag at a Norfolk International Airport checkpoint earlier Nov. 30.
The man, a resident of Chesapeake, Virginia, was stopped by a TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine and spotted the .380 caliber handgun, which was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge.
As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring weapons to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000. A typical first offense for bringing a gun to a checkpoint is a $3,000 penalty.
Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure and they should ensure that they have the proper firearm permit for the state in which they are traveling.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.