NORFOLK, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport prevented a Nevada resident from bringing her handgun onto her flight on Monday, Feb. 27. The .45 caliber gun was unloaded, however there were seven bullets in a magazine among the woman’s carry-on items alongside the gun.
The gun was caught as the woman entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by the local police.
The woman now faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons recently increased to a maximum of $15,000.
“Monday marked the fifth firearm that our Norfolk-based officers have stopped from being carried onto a flight so far this year,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “I hope that this incident serves as a reminder to others that passengers are not permitted to bring firearms through a security checkpoint. It is important to remember that a concealed carry permit or enrollment in the TSA PreCheck® program are not an exemption from this policy.”
Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. Firearms must be unloaded then packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case must be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a duty to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Additionally, contacting the respective airline could reveal any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.
Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because 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 gun 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 a concealed carry permit does not allow a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.
Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-eight percent of those guns were loaded.
Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).