Wednesday, July 24, 2024

TSA Stops Man from Taking Loaded Gun onto Flight at Newport News – Williamsburg Airport

This handgun was detected by TSA officers at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport security checkpoint on Aug. 26. (TSA photo)

NEWPORT NEWS — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at at Newport News – Williamsburg Airport prevented a Hampton man from bringing his loaded handgun onto a flight on Saturday, Aug. 26.

According to TSA, the 9mm handgun, loaded with 13 bullets, was caught as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted on the carry-on bag, which required a closer inspection. The firearm was removed by the police, who cited the man on a weapons charge.

The man also faces a civil penalty for bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint, it said, and the penalty for carrying weapons can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances.

It was the first gun detected at the checkpoint this year, TSA said.

“There is absolutely no excuse for bringing a firearm to one of our checkpoints,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Travelers are responsible for the items that they have in their possession. I strongly encourage gun owners to take a few moments before they come to the airport to refresh their familiarity with the proper procedures on how to pack a gun for a flight. Firearms should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage. Responsible gun owners know this.”

Passengers may only travel with firearms in checked baggage, unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case that must 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.

TSA reminds travelers that firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a duty to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws, adding the respective airline could have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty — TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. That applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits as a concealed carry permit does not allow a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online.

Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide, and 88% of those guns were loaded.

Those unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, a checked bag, either or neither are encouraged to download the free myTSA app, which has a “What can I bring?” feature that allows travelers to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Travelers can also ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA, or send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).

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