Virginia man arrested by police after TSA catches him with loaded gun at Richmond International Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Monday, June 1, 2020
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Richmond International Airport on May 31. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A Hanover County, Virginia, man was cited by police at Richmond International Airport on Sunday, May 31, after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer spotted a .22 caliber handgun loaded with 13 bullets, including one in the chamber, in the traveler’s carry-on bag. The man also had an additional magazine loaded with 12 more bullets.

TSA officials notified the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and detained the man, a resident of Mechanicsville, Virginia, for questioning before citing him on a weapons charge.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline check-in counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

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.

Guns caught at Richmond International Airport from 2016 to 2020

Guns caught by year






(as of 5-31-20)

Richmond International Airport






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 financial civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. 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.