Passengers go through security at the Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport. According to the Transportation Safety Administration, eight handguns have been seized at Hampton Roads’ two major airports so far this year. (Sangjib Min, Daily Press / February 6, 2012)
In the six-day period from Aug. 10 to Aug. 16, the Transportation Safety Administration seized 30 firearms at airports nationwide, including a loaded .22-caliber handgun in Newport News.
And it wasn’t the only one found this year at Newport News-Williamsburg International Airport or at Norfolk International Airport.
In response to a Daily Press inquiry, the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the TSA, provided data that shows eight handguns were seized at Hampton Roads’ two commercial airports since January. Six of the firearms were loaded when they were discovered by TSA officers at security checkpoints.
The data showed a 9 mm handgun was found at the Peninsula airport on Feb. 17 and a loaded .32 caliber on Feb. 22 in addition to the gun discovered on Aug. 10.
“We continue to find these types of weapons — 800 so far this year alone,” said Kawika Riley, a homeland security spokesman. “If the numbers continue, we’re on track for (meeting or surpassing) last year where over 1,300 were found.”
Norfolk International Airport has seen more frequent confiscations of potentially dangerous contraband. Seized handguns from the south Hampton Roads airport, include: a loaded .40 caliber on March 5; a loaded .380-caliber on March 22; a .25 caliber on March 30; and loaded 9 mm weapons on April 21 and July 15, according to data provided by Riley, a homeland security spokesman.