Loaded Firearm Intercepted at Norfolk International Airport

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 15, 2024 09:30 AMNews
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A close-up of a loaded handgun
A close-up of a loaded handgun. Source: unsplash

In a serious breach of aviation safety, a man was intercepted by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Norfolk International Airport as he attempted to board a flight with a loaded handgun. The incident occurred at the airport's security checkpoint, where the weapon was detected during routine X-ray screening of the man’s carry-on bag.

The X-ray unit's alert led to a closer inspection by TSA officers, which confirmed the presence of the handgun. Local police were promptly called to the scene, where they removed the firearm and cited the individual for carrying a weapon into a restricted area. Unlike TSA, which does not have the authority to confiscate weapons, law enforcement took possession of the handgun.

The man now faces severe repercussions, including a stiff financial civil penalty that can escalate up to $15,000, depending on the specifics of the case. Moreover, this incident is being forwarded to the Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney for potential criminal prosecution, highlighting the serious nature of the offense.

Robin "Chuck" Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport, emphasized the proper protocol for traveling with firearms, which includes ensuring the weapon is unloaded and locked in a hard-sided case. This case must then be declared at the airline check-in counter to be transported as checked baggage, in compliance with federal regulations.

Travelers are reminded that firearms must always be transported in checked baggage and must adhere to both TSA guidelines and local laws, which can vary significantly. With 6,735 firearms intercepted at airport checkpoints nationwide last year, and 93 percent of those being loaded, the risks of such violations are clear. The ongoing issue of firearms at checkpoints not only poses a security threat but also places additional burdens on airport security operations.

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