Woman cited by police after TSA detects her with a handgun at Norfolk International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, October 9, 2020
A woman was caught with this handgun in her carry-on bag at a Norfolk International Airport checkpoint on Oct. 8. (TSA photo)

NORFOLK, Va.—Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped an Alabama woman from bringing a .22 caliber handgun onto an airplane at Norfolk International Airport on Thursday, Oct. 8. The gun was not loaded, although two magazines each loaded with four bullets were found in the carry-on bag along with the handgun.

A TSA officer detected the gun as the woman’s carry-on items entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. The Norfolk Airport Authority Police were contacted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and detained the woman for questioning before citing her on weapons charges. The case will be forwarded to the Office of the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for criminal prosecution.

The woman also faces a stiff Federal financial civil penalty for carrying a gun to a TSA checkpoint.

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 Norfolk International Airport checkpoints from 2016 to 2020







(As of 10-8-20)

Guns caught at checkpoints






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.

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.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket 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.

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.