NORFOLK, Va. — Transportation Security Administration officers prevented a Virginia woman from bringing a loaded handgun onboard a plane at the Norfolk International Airport checkpoint yesterday, November 15. It marked the 11th gun that TSA officers detected at the airport so far this calendar year. There were 13 guns caught by TSA officers at the airport’s checkpoints in 2015.
The woman, a resident of Norfolk, Virginia, was stopped by TSA officers at the checkpoint with a .357 caliber handgun. It was loaded with five bullets. The woman told officials that she forgot that she had her loaded gun in her handbag.
TSA officers detected the gun and ammunition as the woman was passing through the airport checkpoint. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the firearm as it passed along the conveyor belt inside the woman’s bag. TSA officers immediately contacted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police, which responded to the checkpoint.
There is a right way to travel with a firearm and a wrong way. The wrong way is to bring it to a checkpoint. 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. Then the firearm must be taken to the airline check-in counter.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should contact their 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.