TSA officers prevent Nevada woman from bringing her gun onto flight at Norfolk International Airport

Local Press Release
Wednesday, March 1, 2023
This handgun and ammunition were detected by TSA officers at a Norfolk International Airport security checkpoint on Feb. 27. (TSA photo)

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).