ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) A Troutville man is now without a handgun and facing a weapons charge after packing a .380 caliber handgun in his carry-on.
This handgun was stopped by TSA officers at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport on October 22. (TSA photo)
TSA agents saw the handgun Tuesday in the X-ray scanners and notified airport police. Police then confiscated the weapon and destroyed it as part of airport protocol.
A spokesperson with the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional airport says this is the fourth gun they have confiscated and destroyed this year.
"Excuses we get when guns are caught in the check point are, 'Oh, I didn't realize it was there, so we can't emphasize enough that if you're traveling it's always best to go through and make sure that you don't have anything like that in your bag before you pack, so you don't have to go through a situation like this," says Brad Boettcher.
In 2018, the airport confiscated six guns. Boettcher urges passengers to always look at an airport's protocol for packing a gun for travel.
Last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags nationwide - a seven percent increase from those detected in 2017. The TSA says 86 percent of those found last year were loaded and approximately 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.
Passengers are allowed to travel with firearms in checked baggage, as long as they are properly packed and declared. The TSA says they must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. People who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges, even if they have a concealed carry permit.
A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100, although TSA has the ability to assess civil penalties up to $13,000, according to the administration. A complete list of penalties is available website
TSA also has information on theirwebsite on how to properly travel with a firearm. Remember, airlines may have varying policies on traveling with firearms.
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