RICHMOND, Va. – A Stafford, Virginia, man was cited by police at Richmond International Airport on Friday, Dec. 7 after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer found a loaded handgun in the traveler’s carry-on bag.
The .38 caliber handgun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber. A TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor detected the handgun inside the man’s carry-on bag as it entered the X-ray machine.
TSA officials notified the airport police, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and cited the man on weapons charges.
It marked the 14th firearm that TSA officers have made at the airport so far this calendar year. Last year 18 guns were caught at the airport’s checkpoints.
As a reminder, individuals who bring weapons to the checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. 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-sided 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'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.