Thursday, February 29, 2024

TSA Stops New Kent Man from Bringing Gun onto Flight at Richmond

This handgun was detected by TSA officers at a Richmond International Airport security checkpoint on Nov. 26. (TSA photo)

RICHMOND — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented a New Kent man from bringing a handgun onto a flight Sunday at Richmond International Airport.

The .40 caliber handgun was not loaded, TSA said, but it was packed alongside two gun magazines with 14 bullets.

An X-ray unit alerted on the gun in his carry-on bag at the security checkpoint, TSA said. Upon closer inspection, the firearm was removed by the Richmond Airport Police, who cited the man on a weapons charge.

Bringing a gun to a TSA security checkpoint carries a penalty that can reach as high as $15,000, depending on the circumstances, according to TSA.

“Our officers are well trained and remain vigilant in their mission, especially during the holiday travel season,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “There is no excuse for bringing a gun to the checkpoint. Responsible gun owners do not bring their guns to a checkpoint.”

Sunday was the busiest day in terms of the number of passengers screened nationwide in the agency’s history, Burke said, noting TSA screened more than 2.9 million people.

“This was irresponsible on the part of this traveler on the busiest day of the year, plain and simple,” Burke added. “Incidents such as this are dangerous, they disrupt our security screening operations and cause delays for other law-abiding travelers who just want to get on their flight to travel for the holiday. This man now faces a Federal civil penalty that could cost him thousands of dollars.”

TSA reminds passengers they are only permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage. Firearms must be unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case which then must be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. Learn more on how to properly travel with a firearm on the TSA website.

The agency also cautions 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. Additionally, contacting the airline could reveal additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

TSA also notes civil penalties for bringing a gun into a checkpoint apply 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. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck, they will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges. A complete list of civil penalties is posted online.

Those unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither are encouraged to download the 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 may also ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA or send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).

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