NORFOLK, Va.—Travelers are continuing to bring loaded guns to the Norfolk International Airport checkpoint, and early this morning, March 18, a third passenger in the last 12 days was cited by airport police after alert Transportation Security Administration officers caught the man with a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.
The third firearm caught by TSA officers at Norfolk International Airport so far this month was a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber. The traveler, a resident of Florida, was ticketed to fly to Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, and was cited by airport police after TSA officers called the police to the checkpoint.
Earlier this month, two Virginia residents who were caught by Transportation Security Administration officers with loaded guns in their carry-on bags at the airport, also were cited by airport police. On March 15, a TSA officer caught a Hampton, Virginia, man with a .22 caliber handgun in his carry-on bag. It was loaded with five bullets, including one in the chamber. And on March 6, a Chesapeake, Virginia, man was stopped with a 9 mm caliber handgun loaded with five bullets.
In each instance, the guns were spotted in the checkpoint X-ray machines by TSA officers who were staffing the X-ray monitors.
As a reminder, individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. The gun must be brought to the airline check-in counter to be placed in the belly of the plane with other checked baggage. 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’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 their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.