NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The Transportation Security Administration expects to surpass last year’s record of firearms stopped at checkpoints.
“We are starting to see record numbers of firearms caught at TSA checkpoints,” said Lisa Farbstein, a TSA spokesperson.
According to the agency, most of them are in carry-on bags. Norfolk International Airport’s TSA has found 27 firearms so far this year. That’s the total amount found in 2022.
“It’s really not the type of record we are trying to set. We would much rather see fewer people bring firearms to our checkpoints,” Farbstein said.
She said the most common excuse is they didn’t know they had their gun.
“When you stop and think, the vast majority of these are loaded. People are telling us, ‘I forgot I had a loaded gun with me.’ It’s inexcusable. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It’s part of being a responsible gun owner,” Farbstein said.
TSA said since the end of September, it has intercepted more than 5,000 firearms.
During the third quarter, July to September, TSA found an average of 19.8 firearms daily — 94 percent of those were loaded.
“A mistake like this could cost you thousands of dollars,” Farbstein said.
That fine comes from a federal civil penalty. Plus, local police can arrest you or give you a criminal citation.
If you’re looking to travel with your firearm, you can, but it can’t be loaded or in the airplane cabin.
“All you have to do is make sure it’s unloaded. It’s packed in a hard-sided case and locked. You take that locked hard-sided case with your unloaded gun and you take it to the airline checking counter to determine you are flying with your firearm,” Farbstein said.
The firearm must be in your checked baggage.