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Transportation Security Administration

Smithfield, Va., man caught trying to bring gun on airplane

Local Press Release
Tuesday, November 29, 2016
This loaded 9mm handgun was detected by TSA officers at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport checkpoint on Monday. (Photo courtesy of TSA.)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va., -- A Smithfield, Virginia, man was stopped by Transportation Security Administration officers at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport checkpoint yesterday (November 29) when the TSA officers detected a loaded gun in his carry-on bag.

TSA officers detected the 9 mm semi-automatic handgun loaded with 17 rounds in the man’s carry-on bag as he was passing through the airport checkpoint. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun on the x-ray monitor.

TSA officers immediately contacted the Newport News Public Safety Office. The police, who responded took possession of the gun and ammunition and cited the man on a state weapons charge.

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 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 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 TSA.gov. 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 (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.

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