TSA stops man with loaded handgun at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers among a passenger’s carry-on items at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport on August 24. (TSA photo)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers stopped a Rockingham County, Virginia, man from bringing a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets, plus a magazine with another six bullets onto an airplane at Charlottesville-Albemarle Airport on Monday, August 24.  

TSA officials immediately alerted the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint and confiscated the handgun from the man, a resident of McGaheysville, Virginia.

“Our TSA officers are very skilled at detecting firearms and other prohibited items,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “I strongly urge passengers to be certain they don’t have any prohibited or illegal items in their carry-on or checked bags before arriving at the airport.”   

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. 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. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

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.

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.