NORFOLK — The Transportation Security Authority (TSA) officials at Norfolk International Airport have expressed concerns over the growing trend of passengers trying to bring firearms through security checkpoints.
According to a TSA press release from Thursday, March 10, the TSA team in Norfolk found 23 guns in 2021. That is 11 more than was found in 2020 and eight more than 2019.
“The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot that they had their gun with them,” said Jeffrey Horowitz, TSA’s assistant federal security director for the airport. “That’s no excuse. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It’s part of being a responsible gun owner.”
Travelers are allowed to travel with firearms in their checked luggage. They must be packed unloaded in a locked hard-sided case and the ammunition must be packed separately.
The passenger must take the locked case to the airline ticket counter and declare the contents of the case.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.
The Administration notes that when a gun is found at a security checkpoint, the entire line comes to a stop, possibly delaying other passengers from getting to their gates.
TSA can hand down civil penalties to those caught with firearms at checkpoints. According to the press release, fines of more than $1,000 can be handed down depending on the circumstances.
A complete list of penalties civil penalties can be found on the TSA website.
“The penalties are stiff for carrying a gun to a checkpoint,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “You could face criminal penalties on top of federal civil citations that can be extremely costly. My advice is to not make the mistake of bringing your gun to the checkpoint in the first place. We’re happy to help transport your firearm. All we ask is that you pack it safely and properly for your flight.”
Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at airport security checkpoints last year. Of those detected, 86 percent were loaded.