CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – A Louisa, Virginia, woman was cited by police after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport (CHO) spotted a loaded gun in the woman’s handbag at the airport checkpoint yesterday, July 11.
The woman was stopped at the checkpoint with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint spotted the handgun as it appeared on the checkpoint’s X-ray monitor inside the woman’s handbag.
She told TSA officials that the gun belonged to her husband and that he placed it in her handbag and she forgot that he put it there.
TSA officers immediately contacted the police, who responded and confiscated the gun and ammunition and cited the woman on weapons charges. There was no impact to airport operations.
It was the third firearm detected at CHO so far this calendar year. In 2017, TSA officers stopped four firearms from getting through the security checkpoint at Charlottesville.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed carry permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
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 contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.