TSA officials cite Massachusetts man for trying to carry loaded handgun onto flight at Norfolk International Airport

Loaded gun caught at Norfolk International Airport (May 22)
Posted at 6:19 PM, May 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-24 18:19:06-04

NORFOLK, Va. - Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport caught a man trying to carry a loaded gun onto his flight over the weekend.

On Sunday, May 22, TSA officers stopped the Massachusetts man when his carry-on bags triggered an alarm in the X-ray unit at the security checkpoint.

When TSA officers spotted the 9mm handgun, which was loaded with 17 bullets, they alerted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police, who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons violation.

The case will be forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth's Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.

“This individual had his handgun in a firearm case, but it is still not the proper way to transport a gun because you can’t carry it into the cabin of a plane,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Bringing an illegal item such as a loaded gun delays travelers and often results in a criminal charge. Additionally, TSA will issue a stiff financial civil penalty.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Below is a list of firearms TSA officials have caught at Norfolk International checkpoints from 2017-2021:

  • 2016: 14
  • 2017: 10
  • 2018: 21
  • 2019: 15
  • 2020: 12
  • 2021: 23
  • 2022: 9

*As of May 22, 2022

According to the TSA, its officers detected 23 guns at Norfolk International at the airport's checkpoints in 2021. Last year, 5,972 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints throughout the U.S.; 86% of those guns were loaded.