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

Local Press Release
Wednesday, July 15, 2020
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a passenger’s carry-on bag at Richmond International Airport on July 14. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A Hampton, Virginia, man was cited by police at Richmond International Airport yesterday, July 14, after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer spotted a .40 caliber handgun, a magazine with 12 bullets and an additional loose bullet in the traveler’s carry-on bag.  

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

“Even though there have been fewer travelers this year as a result of the pandemic, we are seeing an uptick in the number of guns that passengers are bringing to the checkpoint,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Richmond International Airport. “Tuesday’s gun was the second one detected within a five-day span. Our officers continue to be focused on their mission during this time and they are very skilled at detecting firearms and other prohibited items.”

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.

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 checkpoints from 2016 to 2020

Guns caught by year






(as of 7-14-20)

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.