Virginia Woman Caught with Loaded Handgun at Norfolk International Airport

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The Transportation Security Administration caught a Virginia woman with a loaded firearm at Norfolk International Airport security checkpoint (Courtesy of TSA)

NORFOLK — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport caught a Newport News, Virginia, woman with a 9mm handgun loaded with 12 bullets including one in the chamber of the gun, at the airport security checkpoint yesterday (Nov. 18). 

When the TSA officers detected the weapon, the Norfolk Airport Authority Police were alerted and confiscated the weapon and arrested the woman. The case was forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for possible criminal prosecution. The woman also faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to individuals who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to individuals with or without concealed gun carry permits. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm and ammunition posted on its website. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should check into firearm laws before they decide to travel with their guns. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Year2017201820192020*2021*(As of 11/18/21)
Guns caught102115 1221
*Significantly fewer passengers than previous years due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.

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