Suffolk man cited after trying to smuggle loaded gun through Norfolk Airport security checkpoint

NORFOLK, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport stopped a Suffolk man from trying to carry a loaded weapon onto his flight Sunday.

TSA agents arrested the man when his carry-on luggage set off an alarm in the security checkpoint’s x-ray unit.

When the TSA spotted the weapon, they alerted Norfolk Airport Authority police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and cited the man for weapons violation.

The man was carrying a 9mm caliber handgun loaded with 14 bullets, one of which was in the chamber.

In 2021, TSA agents detected 23 firearms at Norfolk International checkpoints. Below is a list of the number of weapons captured at airport checkpoints since 2016:

  • 2016: 14
  • 2017: ten
  • 2018: 21
  • 2019: 15
  • 2020: 12
  • 2021: 23

Last year, 5,972 firearms were captured at airport security checkpoints nationwide, and 86% of those guns were loaded.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if properly packed and declared at the counter of their airline ticket. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a locked hard case and packaged separately from ammunition. Then the locked suitcase must be taken to the airline’s check-in counter to be declared. The TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

The TSA reminds people that it reserves the right to impose a civil penalty on travelers who have firearms with them at a checkpoint. This applies to travelers with or without a concealed carry permit, because although a person may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow carrying a firearm on an airplane. The full list of civil penalties is posted online and can run into the thousands of dollars. If the traveler with a firearm is a TSA PreCheck® member, that person will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

This case will be forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.

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