Virginia man cited by police after TSA catches him with handgun at Richmond International Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Richmond International Airport on Jan. 29. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A West Chesterfield, Virginia, man was issued two citations by police at Richmond International Airport this morning, Jan. 29, after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer found a .380 caliber handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag. It was not loaded.

TSA officials notified the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and detained the man for questioning before issuing him a citation on a weapons charge in addition to a citation for not having a permit to carry the gun.

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.

Guns caught by year

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

(as of 1-29-20)

Richmond International Airport

10

18

14

14

2

Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to a security checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If the individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose their TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

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