Richmond VA Sept 26 2020 For the 14th time this year, Transportation Security Administration officers found a gun at an airport checkpoint – already matching the total number of times they did so each of the past two years.
The news is particularly surprising since the airport’s overall passenger totals are down about 60% from pre-pandemic levels.
On Sept. 21, TSA officers stopped a Richmond woman who had a .357-caliber handgun in one of her carry-on bags. It was not loaded, but there were five loose bullets in the same carry-on bag. As soon as TSA officers detected the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, they alerted the airport police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the weapon and detained the woman for questioning before arresting her on weapons charges.
“Guns are prohibited in the cabins of airplanes. It’s nothing new. It is a law that has been in place long before TSA even existed,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s federal security director for Richmond International Airport. “With passenger volume in the neighborhood of 60% lower than this time in 2019 as a result of the pandemic, it is an extremely disturbing trend. The vast majority of travelers claim that they forgot that they had their gun with them. Quite frankly, that’s not an acceptable reason for carrying a firearm on an aircraft. This individual now faces a stiff federal financial civil penalty.”
Passengers are permitted to transport their firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline check-in counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should check for firearm laws in the jurisdictions they are flying to and from.