NEWPORT NEWS, Va.—Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers detected a “38 special” handgun in a man’s carry-on bag at a Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport checkpoint Sunday, Aug. 13, just five days after stopping a loaded semi-automatic handgun in a woman’s carry-on bag at the same airport, August 9.
The traveler was stopped after a TSA officer spotted the .38 caliber handgun as it was going through the checkpoint X-ray machine. The gun was unloaded, however the carry-on bag with the gun also contained 15 loose bullets and another 50 bullets in its ammunition box. Neither guns or ammunition are permitted past a checkpoint.
Once spotted, TSA immediately contacted the airport police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and cited the man on a weapons charge. TSA can also cite someone up to $12,000 for violating laws related to airport security. The typical first offense for bringing a firearm to a checkpoint is $3,000.
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 and declared.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition so travelers should contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.
The Transportation Security Administration screens approximately 2.5 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.