NORFOLK — The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has announced that a Peninsula man was caught at a Norfolk International Airport security checkpoint with a loaded handgun.
On Sunday, Oct. 3, the man, identified as being a resident of Hampton, was caught at a security check point with a .380 caliber handgun, which was loaded with six bullets. Upon discovery, TSA confiscated the weapon and alerted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police.
The case has since been turned over to Norfolk’s Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office for possible criminal prosecution. The Hampton man also faces stiff federal financial civil penalties.
Passengers are allowed to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed and declared at the airline ticket counter in order to be transported in the belly of the plane. Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, and separate from ammunition. TSA has further guidance regarding traveling with firearms on its website.
It is important to note that prior to traveling with a firearm that passengers should familiarize themselves with state and local laws for their destination, as they may vary.
This incident marks the eighteenth time in which a firearm has been found by TSA at a security checkpoint at Norfolk International Airport. The data below shows the increase of these incidents within the past five years (courtesy of TSA):
*Significantly fewer passengers than previous years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
**As of Oct. 4, 2021.
TSA notes that 83 percent of the firearms found either on a passenger or carry-on baggage at its security checkpoints nationwide were loaded.
This incident occurred just one day after an Ohio man was caught at a security checkpoint at the Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport with a loaded firearm. At the time of its discovery, the man told officials that he was living and working in a motel and carries the gun for personal protection. He noted that he forgot that the weapon was loaded before heading to the airport for his flight.