TSA reports yearly firearm detections, only one Virginia airport shows increase in findings


Travelers wear face masks while passing through the south security checkpoint in the main terminal of Denver International Airport Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

WASHINGTON (AP/WAVY) — There were fewer air travelers in the United States last year, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) says a higher percentage of them were carrying guns. Did Virginia also see that increase?

In Virginia, officials say only one airport reported an increase in firearms detected at checkpoints: Richmond International.

This loaded handgun was detected by TSA officers at Richmond International Airport in July 2020. (TSA photo)

Overall, TSA officers say they stopped 55 handguns at Virginia airport security checkpoints in 2020, a decrease from the 74 guns caught in 2019.

Each of the firearms were discovered by TSA officers during the routine screening of carry-on property at airport security checkpoints.

Norfolk International reported several of their own firearm detections throughout the past few months, two local men were stopped in separate incidents and a Texas man was also stopped with a loaded gun.

Courtesy of TSA

The Transportation Security Administration said Tuesday that, throughout the entire U.S., screeners found 3,257 firearms total on passengers or in their carry-on bags in 2020, or about 10 for every million travelers. In comparison, about 5 firearms per million passengers in 2019 were stopped for having a firearm.

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport had the most guns seized, 220, followed by 176 guns at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport checkpoints.

Courtesy of TSA

Of the more than 3,000 firearms detected this year, about 83% of the guns were loaded.

Federal law prohibits passengers other than certain law enforcement officers from bringing guns or ammunition into the cabin, although unloaded guns are permitted in checked bags that go into the cargo hold.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

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

Courtesy of TSA

Stay with WAVY.com for more local news updates.

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