RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond man was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented him from bringing a loaded gun onto a flight at Richmond International Airport on Thursday, Sept. 21.

TSA officers stopped the man when his carry-on bag triggered an alarm at the security checkpoint X-ray unit. According to TSA, officers found a .45 caliber pistol loaded with five bullets — including one in the chamber.

Upon identifying the weapon, the TSA officers alerted Richmond Airport Police who confiscated the handgun and cited the man on a weapons violation. In addition to the citation, the man is facing a stiff federal financial civil penalty, which could reach as high as $15,000.

“This was the 12th firearm that our officers have caught so far this year. I urge travelers to take a few moments before they come to the airport to refresh their familiarity with the proper procedures on how to pack a gun for a flight,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Firearms should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage.”

Firearms caught by TSA officers at Richmond International Airport checkpoints, 2018 to 2023

Year201820192020202120222023 As of 9/21/23
Guns caught at Richmond International Airport (RIC) checkpoints  14  14  19  21  24  12
(Courtesy of the TSA)

The TSA wants to remind travelers that bringing firearms onto a flight is illegal, regardless of concealed carry permits. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter. For more information on civil penalties for unauthorized firearms and how to correctly travel with them, visit the TSA’s website here.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

TSA officers detected 6,542 firearms at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide in 2022. Of those guns, 88% were loaded.