RICHMOND, Va. -- A Washington State man was cited on state weapons charges after he was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Richmond International Airport (RIC) checkpoint yesterday, April 24, when the TSA officers detected a handgun in one of the man’s carry-on bags.
TSA officers detected the firearm, a small .22 caliber handgun, in the man’s carry-on bag as he was passing through the airport checkpoint. The man is a resident of Mt. Vernon in Skagit County, Washington. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun as it passed along the conveyor belt. It was not loaded.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Richmond International Airport Police, which responded and confiscated the gun and ammunition from the man. There was no impact to airport operations.
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.
Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are properly packed. 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.
Passengers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA up to $11,000.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact the airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
The Transportation Security Administration 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.