ROANOKE, Va. – A Lynchburg, Virginia, area woman was stopped by the Transportation Security Administration with a loaded handgun at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport checkpoint Monday, April 8. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor detected the 9 mm caliber handgun inside the woman’s carry-on bag. The gun was loaded with 10 bullets.
TSA officials notified the airport police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and cited the woman on a weapons charge. It marks the first gun that TSA officers have detected at the airport so far this year. In 2018, six guns were caught at the airport’s checkpoint.
The woman is a resident of Forest, Virginia, in Bedford and Campbell counties.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms 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-side 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’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.