TSA officers prevent local man from bringing gun onto a flight at Richmond International Airport

Police arrest man on weapons charge
Local Press Release
Monday, February 12, 2024
This handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint on Feb. 11. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Richmond International Airport prevented a Richmond, Va., man from bringing his handgun onto a flight on Sunday, Feb. 11.

The 9mm handgun was loaded with 10 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 by TSA officials. The firearm was removed by the Richmond Airport Police, who arrested the man on a weapons charge.   

The man 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.

“Our officers are well trained and remain vigilant every day,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “It is disappointing to see travelers continue to bring their guns to our checkpoints because in doing so they create a potentially dangerous situation through their own actions. Responsible gun owners know where their guns are and they know not to bring them to a checkpoint. We have no issues with passengers who pack their firearms properly to be transported on their flight, but bringing a gun to a checkpoint is not the way to do it.”

Last year TSA officers at Richmond intercepted 17 guns at the security checkpoints. Ninety-four percent of those guns were loaded. Sunday’s gun catch was the second of 2024. In 2023, TSA officers detected 6,735 guns at checkpoints across the country of which 93 percent were loaded.

Firearms caught by TSA officers at Richmond International Airport checkpoints, 2018 to 2024









As of 2/11/24

Guns caught at Richmond International Airport (RIC) checkpoints








Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage.  Firearms must be unloaded and 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.

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).