TSA stops third gun so far this month at Norfolk International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, October 23, 2020
A man was caught with this handgun in his carry-on bag at a Norfolk International Airport checkpoint on Oct. 22. (TSA photo)

NORFOLK, Va.—Transportation Security Administration officers at Norfolk International Airport stopped a gun from getting through the checkpoint on Thursday, Oct. 22, the third gun caught at the airport checkpoint so far this month.

On Thursday, TSA officers stopped a Virginia Beach man with a .40 caliber handgun that was detected in his carry-on bag. It was not loaded, however a magazine with 21 bullets was also detected among the man’s carry-on items.

When the TSA officer detected the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, the Norfolk Airport Authority Police were alerted, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and cited him on a weapons charge. This case was forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for criminal prosecution.

The man 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 10-22-20)

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.