You might expect air travelers to know that guns are not allowed on planes, but the TSA reports finding more than 42-hundred firearms at airports last year. The number in Virginia also set a record.
Checkpoint guards at Virginia airports confiscated 82 guns from travelers last year – a 15% increase from 2017. Troy Bell, a spokesman for Richmond International, says the number there was actually down, but finding 14 guns was still a surprise.
“We don’t understand it either," he says. " If we were in possession of handguns, we’d like to believe that we would know where they are at all times.
Most people said they simply forgot.
“Typically it’s a bag they haven’t used for a while, or they borrowed it from someone else, but somewhere buried deep within that bag is a handgun!”
Even so, Bell says, they face criminal charges and fines of up to $13,000. People wishing to travel with an unloaded gun may do so by declaring their weapon at the ticket counter and placing it in a checked bag.
In additional remarks, Bell indicated fines could actually be lower:
"The TSA can exact civil fines, and I see that those can go up to $13,000 – the typical first offense, thought, just under $4,000. "
And he detailed how travelers could transport guns legally:
"“The traveler wishing to transport firearms can declare the firearm at the ticket counter to the airline. They don’t go loaded, and then it would go as a checked item."