NORFOLK, Va. — A Virginia Beach man was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration officers detected a handgun among his belongings at the Norfolk International Airport checkpoint yesterday morning, December 22. It marked the 16th gun that TSA officers have detected at Norfolk so far this calendar year—more than double the number that were caught at the checkpoint during 2014.
TSA officers detected the 9 mm caliber gun, loaded with 15 bullets, as the man was passing through the airport checkpoint. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the gun as it passed along the conveyor belt inside a carry-on bag.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police, which responded, confiscated the gun and ammunition and issued the man a citation on a state weapons charge. There was no impact to airport operations. The man was ticketed to fly to Detroit.
This incident serves as a reminder that passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items. Travelers can view a comprehensive list of prohibited items.
Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
TSA screens approximately 2 million passengers and their luggage every day for prohibited items, including weapons and explosives. To do this, TSA uses imaging technology to safely screen passengers for any items which may be concealed under clothing, while X-ray units screen all carry-on baggage.