NORFOLK — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has reported that it stopped a local man at an airport checkpoint who was carrying a loaded handgun.
On Thursday, July 29, a Portsmouth man, who has not been identified, was stopped at a security checkpoint located at Norfolk International Airport. TSA officers discovered that the man was carrying a .40-caliber handgun loaded with fifteen bullets.
At that point, TSA officers contacted Norfolk Airport Authority Police and the man was arrested on weapons charges. The case is now under review for possible criminal prosecution by Norfolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office. The man also faces a hefty federal financial civil penalty.
In the report that was issued by TSA on July 30, it states that TSA reserves the right to issue civil penalties upon those who are discovered as having guns and gun parts at security checkpoints. Visit TSA’s website to learn more about its Civil Enforcement Policy.
Passengers are able to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at the airport ticket counter to travel in the belly of the plane. Firearms must not be loaded, packed in a hard-sided case that is locked, and packed separately from ammunition. To learn more about proper procedure per TSA when traveling with a firearm, click here. Also, below is a video with tips for traveling with firearms, courtesy of TSA:
So far this year, ten firearms have been discovered at Norfolk International Airport’s TSA checkpoints. In the past four years, 2018 saw the highest number of firearms collected at the airport’s checkpoints, with twenty-one discovered. TSA notes that lower numbers in 2020 and so far in 2021 can be attributed to the lower number of travelers due to the pandemic.
In 2020, TSA detected at its checkpoints 3,257 firearms nationwide. The number of passengers screened by TSA fell by 500 million in comparison to 2019. This meant that twice as many firearms were detected per million passengers than in 2019.
Of those firearms detected, TSA reports that 83 percent were loaded. Of the 234 airports in which firearms were detected in 2020, the one with the highest number of firearms detected was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Georgia, where 220 firearms were found. To see more data from 2020, click here.