NORFOLK, Va.—A local man was caught by the Transportation Security Administration with a loaded handgun at a Norfolk International Airport checkpoint on Tuesday, March 19th, marking the second firearm that TSA officers have caught at the airport’s checkpoints so far this calendar year. In 2018, TSA officers stopped 21 guns at the airport’s checkpoints.
The man, a resident of Chesapeake, Virginia, was carrying a 9 mm handgun loaded with 12 bullets, including one in the chamber. Additional rounds also were discovered.
Airport police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and detained the man for questioning before citing him on weapons charges. The man told officials that he was using his gun at a shooting range the previous day but forgot that it was in his bag when he packed it with his other items for his trip.
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 firearm posted on 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.