TSA prevents man from carrying handgun onto a flight at Raleigh County Memorial Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
TSA officers at Raleigh County Memorial Airport stopped a man with this loaded handgun at the security checkpoint on Nov. 13. (TSA photo)

BECKLEY, W.Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Raleigh County Memorial Airport prevented a Florida man from carrying his loaded gun onto a flight yesterday, Nov. 13. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with six bullets.

When the TSA officer spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, a Raleigh County Sheriff’s deputy was alerted, came to the checkpoint and allowed the man to return the gun to his vehicle. However, the man now faces a stiff Federal financial penalty for bringing his weapon to the airport.

“Guns are not permitted to be carried into the cabin of a plane, a regulation that has been in place for decades before TSA even existed,” said John C. Allen, TSA’s Federal Security Director for West Virginia. “So obviously there is no need to bring a gun to the checkpoint. Instead, what happens when an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, is that the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until law enforcement officers resolve the incident. This delays other passengers. Responsible gun owners know where their firearms are, and they also know that they are not permitted to be carried onto a flight.”  

Individuals who want to bring their guns with them when they fly need to pack them properly in their checked luggage and declare them at their airline check-in counter to be transported in the belly of the plane where nobody has access to firearms during a flight. 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.

This individual faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty for bringing his gun to the checkpoint. Penalties for bringing weapons to the airport can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. 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 reminds passengers to always know the contents of their carry-on bag prior to coming to the security checkpoint. TSA has multiple resources available to passengers to help them determine whether an item is permitted in carry-on baggage, checked baggage, either or neither. Travelers can use the “Can I Bring?” feature on the TSA website or on the free downloadable myTSA app. Travelers can also tweet to @AskTSA or send a text message (275-872) if they have a travel question or are unsure if an item is allowed through security in a carry-on bag. Just snap a picture or send a question and get real-time assistance.