RICHMOND, Va. - Transportation Security Administration officers stopped three more firearms at the Richmond International Airport checkpoints in 2016 than they did in each of the previous three years.
In 2016, TSA officers detected 10 firearms in carry-on bags at Richmond—up from seven they caught in 2015.
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Travelers with proper firearm permits can travel legally with their firearms properly packed in their checked baggage only, if they follow a few simple guidelines.
Richmond International Airport (RIC)
Number of Firearms TSA Stopped at Checkpoints
TSA officers continued their vigilance in protecting our nation’s transportation systems in 2016, including catching unusual items at the checkpoints. For more specific information on unusual items, visit the TSA Blog for photos and graphics.
In total, 3,391 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging nine firearms per day, approximately a 28 percent increase in firearm discoveries from the total of 2,653 in 2015. Eighty-three percent of the guns caught in 2016 were loaded.
The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns at checkpoints in 2016 were: Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International with 198; Dallas/Fort Worth International with 192; George Bush Intercontinental at Houston with 128; Phoenix Sky Harbor International with 101; and Denver International with 98. These same airports were in the top five for guns at checkpoints in 2014 and 2015.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. 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 their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies prior to arriving at the airport.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Ammunition must be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-sided 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 should be 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’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm.