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

Police cited him on weapons charges
Local Press Release
Monday, April 1, 2024
This handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint on March 31. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Richmond International Airport prevented an Alabama man from bringing a handgun onto a flight on Sunday, March 31.

The .380 caliber gun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

The handgun 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 confiscated the weapon and cited the man on a weapons charge. TSA does not confiscate firearms caught at checkpoints, law enforcement does.

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.

“Spring break travel is in full swing and this is a very busy time of year at the airport,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Bringing a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint introduces unnecessary delays to fellow travelers and of course represents a security risk. Responsible gun owners know where their guns are at all times and they know not to bring them to an airport security checkpoint. Our TSA officers remain vigilant during this busy travel season to help ensure everyone can travel safely.”

Last year TSA officers at Richmond intercepted 17 guns at the security checkpoints. Sunday’s gun catch was the seventh 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








2024 As of 3/31/24

Guns caught at Richmond International Airport (RIC) checkpoints








Passengers are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. 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).