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.
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.
- Chesapeake man caught with loaded gun at Norfolk International Airport
- Virginia Beach man caught with loaded gun at Norfolk International Airport
- Texas man caught with loaded gun at Norfolk International Airport
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.
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.
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