Fredericksburg man caught by TSA with loaded gun at Richmond International Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, August 13, 2021
This handgun was detected by TSA officers among a passenger’s carry-on items at Richmond International Airport on August 12. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Richmond International Airport prevented a Fredericksburg, Virginia, man from carrying a .25 caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets onto his flight on Thursday, August 12. The gun was detected in the X-ray machine among the traveler’s carry-on items at the security checkpoint.

TSA alerted police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and issued the man a citation. In addition to being cited by the police, he also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint.

“It’s been well publicized that we are seeing a spike in unruly passengers on board flights, and gun owners need to know that we mean business when we detect a gun at a checkpoint,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “The last thing that passengers in commercial aviation need is to have someone with a loaded gun on a flight. We take it extremely seriously when our officers stop a traveler with a gun or any other weapon such as knives, tasers etc., at a checkpoint. Guns, are just not to be carried onto flights,” he added.

“It’s very concerning that we’re seeing passengers fighting with flight attendants and fellow travelers. Throw a weapon of any type into the picture and there’s no telling what the outcome could be,” Burke said “There will be a very stiff federal financial penalty handed down on top of any criminal charges that the police impose when weapons are detected.”

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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.

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.

Firearms stopped by TSA at Richmond International Airport security checkpoints








Richmond International Airport Guns at Checkpoints







*Significantly fewer passengers due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.