Man cited after being caught with loaded handguns at Roanoke airport

These loaded guns were detected in a man’s carry-on bag at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional...
These loaded guns were detected in a man’s carry-on bag at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport TSA security checkpoint Sunday, May 15.(TSA-Transportation Security Administration)
Published: May. 16, 2022 at 12:05 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ/TSA Release) - A man from Bedford County was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped him from carrying two loaded handguns onto his flight Sunday at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. Both were semi-automatic handguns, according to TSA, one loaded with six bullets and the other with seven bullets.

A TSA officer staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor saw the weapons among the man’s carry-on items as they entered the X-ray machine, according to TSA, which alerted police, who confiscated the handguns and issued the man a summons. The man told police he forgot he was carrying his guns.

The Forest man also faces a “stiff federal financial civil citation for bringing loaded guns to a security checkpoint,” according to TSA.

“Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Guns on their person or accessible in their carry-on property are illegal and when detected at the screening checkpoint will result in a significant fine and potential criminal charges filed on the passenger. Security checkpoints and weapons don’t mix.”

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Taking a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint, according to TSA. Civil penalties for taking a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though a person may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane, per TSA.

The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that person will lose TSA PreCheck privileges.

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

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