NORFOLK, Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers stopped twice as many guns at the Norfolk International Airport checkpoints in 2015 as they did the previous two years combined.
In 2015, TSA officers detected 16 firearms in carry-on bags at Norfolk, compared to seven firearms caught in both 2014 and 2013.
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. However travelers with proper firearm permits can travel legally with their firearms if they follow a few simple guidelines.
“Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality,” explains Jeffrey Horowitz, TSA Assistant Federal Security Director at Norfolk International Airport, where nearly 1.8 million travelers are screened by TSA officers annually. “TSA advises travelers to familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure to ensure that they have the proper gun permits for the states that they are traveling to and from. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport.”
Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are never permitted in carry-on bags, but they can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm. Even if the box of ammunition is not full, the bullets must be in their original case. Then the case with the firearm should be brought to the airline check-in counter and the airline representative informed that the passenger wants to travel with the gun. Firearms are transported inside checked baggage and are placed in the belly of the aircraft.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted here.
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.