TSA officers prevent local man from bringing handgun onto flight at Norfolk International Airport

Local Press Release
Thursday, February 8, 2024
This handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Norfolk International Airport security checkpoint on Feb. 8. (TSA photo)

NORFOLK, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport prevented a Virginia Beach man from bringing his handgun onto a flight this morning, Thursday, Feb. 8. The 9mm gun was loaded with 15 bullets.

The gun was caught as the man 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, who cited the man on a weapons charge. He also faces a stiff financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

The case will be forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.

“The frequency with the number of travelers that we see bringing their guns to our security checkpoints continues to be alarming,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Last year we intercepted 29 guns at the airport, which was a record. That is not the type of record we aim to set. We would much rather see travelers pack their guns properly for a flight.”

Firearms caught by TSA officers at Norfolk International Airport checkpoints, 2016 to 2024











As of 2/8/24

Guns caught at Norfolk International Airport (ORF) checkpoints










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, 6,735 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide and 93 percent of them 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).