NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — During a Tuesday morning press conference, officials with the Transportation Security Administration addressed the record number of weapons caught at Norfolk International Airport.

TSA officials say they have seen an increase in the number of guns that travelers are carrying to the security checkpoints at ORF. Just last year, TSA caught 27 firearms at checkpoints at Norfolk, a record in the 20-year history of TSA.

TSA officers at Norfolk International Airport prevented a traveler from bringing this handgun onto a flight in January 2023. (TSA photo)

The press conference included an overview of what happens when a traveler brings a gun to a security checkpoint; the latest gun statistics; the penalties involved; and how this causes delays to other travelers.

TSA also conducted a demonstration on the proper way to transport a firearm for a flight.

Watch the full press conference below.

A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. In this case, the handgun was not loaded.

“The penalties are stiff for carrying a gun to a checkpoint,” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “You could face criminal penalties on top of federal civil citations that can be extremely costly. My advice is to not make the mistake of bringing your gun to the checkpoint in the first place. We’re happy to help transport your firearm. All we ask is that you pack it safely and properly for your flight.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are declared at their airline ticket counter to be transported in the belly of the plane. Guns are absolutely not permitted to be carried onto planes.

A properly packed firearm sits in a hard-sided case and is locked before it is taken to the check-in counter for the airline to transport it in the belly of the plane. (TSA photo)

Checked firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm and ammunition posted on its website.

Check for the latest updates.