(TSA photo)

The Transportation Security Administration says its officers spotted a loaded handgun going through routine screening yesterday at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. Officials say the 9-millimeter weapon had seven bullets in it. Police confiscated the gun and cited the a man on a weapons charge. By our count, this is the third such incident at the airport in the last year and a half. Handguns were also found during screenings in February of this year and May of 2016.

(Continue reading for the TSA news release.)

Man cited after bringing loaded gun to Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport

 ROANOKE, VA – Transportation Security Administration officers at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) prevented a man from bringing a loaded 9 mm handgun onto an airplane on Wednesday (September 6).

The man was stopped as he was entering the checkpoint with the handgun, which was loaded with seven bullets. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun as it passed along the conveyor belt inside the man’s carry-on bag.

Police confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a state weapons charge.

Individuals who show up with weapons at airport checkpoints cause the checkpoint lane to come to a halt until police arrive and handle the situation.

As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.