Another two travelers were caught with guns in their carry-ons at security checkpoints at Norfolk International Airport in Virginia this week.
The two firearms marked the fifth and sixth times fliers have attempted to go through security with guns at the airport this year.
On Monday, a Nevada woman attempted to go through security with an unloaded .45 caliber handgun and a magazine for the gun containing seven bullets. After being notified by the x-ray unit, airport police seized the firearm. The woman, unnamed by the Transportation Security Administration, faces a civil penalty of up to $14,950.
On Wednesday, a Kentucky man came to security with a .38 handgun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber, inside his carry-on luggage. Airport police wrote up the unidentified man on state charges and seized the gun. He also faces the civil penalty of up to $14,950.
The maximum civil fine for gun violations at airports was increased for 2023 after a record-breaking number of gun seizures occurred in 2022. Americans attempted to bring 6,542 firearms, 88% of which were loaded at the time, through 262 of the 430 security checkpoints in airports nationwide.
A local record was also broken at Norfolk International Airport in 2022 when 27 guns were seized, breaking the 2021 highmark of 23 firearms.
“Our team stopped a gun at the checkpoint on Monday and again on Wednesday. Let’s hope that folks get the message that they should not be trying to bring a gun through our checkpoints,” TSA Federal Security Director Robin Burke said.
Mr. Burke also emphasized that, contrary to possible misconceptions on the part of travelers, neither a concealed carry permit nor membership in TSA PreCheck void the ban on bringing firearms in one’s carry-on luggage.
In addition to civil penalties, people who violate airport gun laws also lose their TSA PreCheck status.