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Police cite two men after TSA officers at Norfolk Airport catch them with loaded guns

NORFOLK, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport stopped two men from carrying loaded handguns onto their flights yesterday, Thursday, Aug. 4.  

A Norfolk, Va., man was caught with a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 bullets in his carry-on bag and an Elizabeth City, N.C., man was caught with a .38 caliber gun loaded with three bullets, including one in the chamber. It also was detected in his carry-on bag. The incidents were not related.

ORF gun catch 2 photo
This handgun was detected by TSA officers in a carry-on bag belonging to an Elizabeth City, N.C., man on Aug. 4 at Norfolk International Airport. (TSA photo)

In both cases, the carry-on bags triggered an alarm in the security checkpoint X-ray unit. Upon spotting the guns, TSA alerted the Norfolk Airport Authority Police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapons and cited each individual on a weapons violation.

As is routine, the cases will be forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for possible criminal prosecution.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online and can run into thousands of dollars. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

TSA officers detected 23 guns at Norfolk International Airport at the checkpoints in 2021. Last year, 5,972 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide. Eighty-six percent of those guns were loaded.

Firearms caught by TSA officers at Norfolk International Airport checkpoints, 2016 to 2022

Year

2016

2017

2018

2019

2020

2021

2022

(As of 8/4/22)

Guns caught at Norfolk Airport checkpoints

14

10

21

15

12

23

15

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