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It’s happened again: a loaded handgun found in a carry-on bag during screening at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport. The Transportation Security Administration says police confiscated the 380 Ruger and cited a Franklin County man on a state weapons charge. By our count, this is the fourth such incident at Roanoke’s airport in the last year and a half. Previous confiscations occurred in September and February of this year and in May 2016.

From the TSA: ROANOKE, VA. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport (ROA) prevented a Franklin County, Virginia, man from bringing a loaded .380 caliber handgun onto an airplane on Sunday (November 5).  The man, a resident of Rocky Mount, Virginia, was stopped as he was entering the checkpoint with the handgun, which was loaded with six 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. The typical first offense is $3,000.

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.

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