Loaded “Lady Liberty” handgun detected at Norfolk International Airport checkpoint

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Local Press Release
Monday, November 5, 2018

NORFOLK, Va. - A Hampton Roads area woman woman was caught by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) with a loaded handgun at a Norfolk International Airport checkpoint on Friday, November 2nd, marking the 18th firearm that TSA officers have caught at the airport so far this calendar year, far exceeding the 10 that were caught during 2017.

The woman, a resident of Smithfield, Virginia, was carrying a 9 mm handgun with the Statue of Liberty engraved on the gun’s handle, in one of her carry-on bags. The gun was loaded with six bullets.

Airport police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and detained the woman for questioning. Police did not cite her, although she is subject to federal civil penalties.

Number of firearms caught at the Norfolk International Airport Checkpoints

Norfolk International Airport

Number of Firearms TSA Stopped at Checkpoints


18 (as of 11-5-18)











Individuals who bring weapons to the checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

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. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearmon TSA.gov. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.