RICHMOND, Va. -- TSA officers at Richmond International Airport confiscated the most guns in a single year in 2020, despite record low passenger volume due to the pandemic.
The 22nd and final gun was caught by officers on New Year's Eve 2020.
TSA officers stopped a Chesterfield woman with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with four bullets.
Officials say the loaded handgun was in her carry-on bag as it went through the security checkpoint X-ray machine at the airport.
Police responded to the checkpoint and the Midlothian woman was cited.
The 22 confiscated guns in 2020 are eight more than in 2019.
“When you consider that the passenger volume at Richmond was significantly lower in 2020 due to the pandemic, it is an extremely disappointing trend,” said Chuck Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Richmond International Airport. “The TSA team here at Richmond International is strong and they are good at their jobs and focused on the mission. With fewer travelers in 2020, the expectation was that fewer firearms would be brought to the airport. But that didn’t happen."
Guns caught at Richmond International Airport checkpoints from 2016 to 2020
|Guns caught by year||2015||2016||2017||2018||2019||2020|
|Richmond International Airport||6||10||18||14||14||22|
“Not carrying a gun on a plane is nothing new,” Burke said. “TSA has been in existence for 19 years but for decades preceding TSA there has been a regulation barring guns on a plane. Yet this year we saw an exorbitant amount of travelers attempting to do just that. The consequences are costly. TSA imposes stiff federal financial penalties when a gun is detected at the checkpoint."
Individuals who bring firearms to checkpoints are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and federal civil penalties up to $13,000.
Weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags but can be transported in checked bags if they are properly packed.
Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality. Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure, the TSA reminded.