TSA officers prevent man from bringing loaded gun onto a flight at Richmond International Airport on busiest day in TSA history

Police cite him on weapons charges
Local Press Release
Monday, July 8, 2024
This handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint on July 7. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND, Va. – A North Carolina man was cited by police on Sunday, July 7, after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Richmond International Airport intercepted a gun among the traveler’s carry-on items on what was the busiest day in TSA’s 22-year history nationwide. The 9mm firearm 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 officers. 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.

“When our officers detect a firearm at the checkpoint, the checkpoint lane comes to a halt until police come and remove the carry-on bag with the gun. This is done because we do not want our officers to handle firearms as that is an accident waiting to happen,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “As a result, all of the travelers in that checkpoint lane either shift to another lane or wait for the police to resolve the situation. Either way it inconveniences other travelers and on a busy day at our airport, I can assure you that any delay is not appreciated by fellow travelers.”

In addition to facing a criminal citation by law enforcement, 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.

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








As of 7/7/24

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).