From TSA: ROANOKE, Va.– A man from Atlanta, Ga., was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers prevented him from carrying a handgun onto his flight on Saturday, March 12, at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport.

The revolver was not loaded, but the man had eight bullets with the gun in his carry-on bag. A TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor spotted the weapon and ammunition as they entered the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA alerted the police who confiscated the handgun and cited the man on weapons charges. He also faces a federal financial civil citation.

This handgun was detected in a man’s carry-on bag at the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport TSA security checkpoint on Saturday, March 12. (TSA photo)

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. 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.

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