Woman cited by police after TSA catches her with loaded gun at Richmond International Airport security checkpoint

Local Press Release
Friday, July 10, 2020
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Richmond International Airport on July 9. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A Texas woman was cited by police at Richmond International Airport yesterday, July 9, after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer spotted a .357 caliber revolver loaded with five bullets in the traveler’s carry-on bag.  

TSA officials notified the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and detained the woman for questioning before citing her on a weapons charge.

“Our TSA officers are remaining vigilant during this pandemic and they are excellent at detecting prohibited and illegal items,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Richmond International Airport. “Travelers should never bring a firearm to a checkpoint. If they want to transport their gun, they need to make sure it is unloaded and packed in a hard-sided case. They should lock the case and take it to their airline check-in counter to declare that they want to fly with it. The airline representative will make sure it is placed in the belly of the aircraft for transport.”

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. Travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.

Guns caught at Richmond International Airport checkpoints from 2016 to 2020

Guns caught by year






(as of 7-9-20)

Richmond International Airport






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 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.