Police cite Pulaski County woman after TSA catches her with a loaded gun at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport checkpoint

ROANOKE, Va.– A woman from Pulaski County, Va., was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented her from carrying her loaded handgun onto her flight on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. The .380 caliber handgun was loaded with six bullets.

This gun was detected in a woman’s carry-on bag at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport TSA security checkpoint on Tuesday, Sept. 13. (TSA photo)

A TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor spotted the weapon among the woman’s carry-on items as they entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA alerted the police who confiscated the handgun and cited her on a weapons charge.

The Fairlawn Va., woman also faces a stiff federal financial civil citation for bringing a loaded gun to a security checkpoint.

“Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Guns on their person or accessible in their carry-on property are illegal.When a gun is detected at the screening checkpoint the result is a significant fine with potential criminal charges filed on the passenger.” said Robin “Chuck” Burke, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.

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

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Firearms caught by TSA officers at the ROA Airport checkpoint, 2016 to 2022

Year 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 
(As of 9/13/22)
Guns caught at ROA checkpoint 6 3 6 5 1 5 6

Last year TSA officers detected 5,972 guns at security checkpoints nationwide and 86 percent of them were loaded.