Number of guns found at airport checkpoints continues to rise

Number of guns found at airport checkpoints continues to rise
The proper way to pack a gun for airline travel. (Source: TSA)
A X-ray image of a gun stored illegally in a backpack. (Source: TSA)
A X-ray image of a gun stored illegally in a backpack. (Source: TSA)

(WWBT) - Guns at the airport is a growing problem across the country and in Virginia, specifically.

It's an all too common occurrence that can land travelers in some hot water.

The TSA has guidelines for allowing guns on planes, and the simplest way to remember what is allowed and what is not is that a gun is never allowed at the security checkpoint or on the plane.

Nevertheless, in 2017, 3,957 firearms were confiscated by TSA agents from carry-on luggage across the country. Of those, 71 were confiscated at a Virginia airport. Already this year, 25 guns have been discovered in carry-on bags in Virginia airports.

Of all the guns recovered, the TSA says 84 percent were loaded.

In 2017, Washington Dulles International Airport led the way with 19 guns found. Richmond International Airport was a close second with 18.

So far this year, Norfolk International Airport leads the way with nine. Both Dulles and Richmond have five.

The number of firearms found at checkpoints has increased every year since 2010, from 1,123 to 3,957 in 2017.

Guns can be carried in checked baggage, but they must be declared at the airline check-in counter, unloaded and in a hard shell case that is locked. Ammunition must be in its original package and packed separately from the firearm.

The penalty for bringing an undeclared firearm to a security checkpoint is a fine of up to $13,000. The firearm will also be confiscated, and it will not be returned to the owner.

The TSA's website provides further information on the civil punishment process.

Travelers should also familiarize themselves with the rules on the airline on which they will be traveling as well as the state and local laws of the places where they will be traveling to make sure their permits are valid.

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