NORFOLK, Va. - Airport police cited a Virginia Beach woman after a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer caught her with a .38 caliber revolver loaded with five bullets in her carry-on bag at Norfolk International Airport on Wednesday.
The TSA officer detected the gun as the woman’s carry-on items entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. The officer contacted airport police, responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and detained the woman for questioning before citing her on weapons charges.
Last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
As of May 6, 2020, this is how many guns were caught at checkpoints at Norfolk International Airport since 2016:
- 2020: 3
- 2019: 15
- 2018: 21
- 2017: 10
- 2016: 14
Individuals are not permitted to carry guns on airplanes. 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. TSA reserves the right to issue monetary civil penalties for individuals caught with weapons at the checkpoint. The complete list of penalties is posted online here.
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 has details on how to properly travel with a firearm, which you can see here. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.