Very often, where guns are involved, the charges that a person may face are leveled at the federal level. As we have noted before, anyone in Virginia facing federal weapons charges runs a risk of serious penalties and so it's always a good idea to have an attorney at your side when trying to deal with the allegations.
Sometimes the weapons crime allegation is enough to get a person into an uncomfortable situation and getting the issue resolved is difficult. Take for example the question of what happens when a handgun is confiscated by the Transportation Security Administration when someone is going through screening at the airport.
We're prompted to pose the question after news today that a Montpelier man had a handgun confiscated from his carry-on luggage as he was trying to board a plane to North Carolina at Washington Dulles International Airport. Reports about the incident say that TSA officials discovered the small handgun and 19 bullets in his luggage. Airport Authority Police were called and the weapon and rounds were confiscated. The man was cited and then allowed to catch his flight.
Now, guns, with or without bullets, aren't allowed on commercial jets in carry-on bags. They are allowed in checked bags if properly packaged and declared. But a lot of people may not be aware of all the regulations, and many may be so accustomed to carrying weapon that they may pack one without thinking. That doesn't make them a threat. Still, they see their guns confiscated.
So where do those guns go? The answer isn't really clear. Generally, it appears that individuals stopped with a legal weapon have some choices that might allow them to keep possession, but often they are handed over to local police. And from there the track runs cold.
These observations are not made with the intent of taking a position for or against security rules. They are offered, rather, to highlight how complicated rules are and how the protection of one's individual rights may require the consultation of an attorney.
Sources: WJLA-TV, Virginia man stopped at Dulles Airport with handgun," April 25, 2013; Time, "TSA Confiscates Record Number of Guns at U.S. Airports in 2012," Erica Ho, Jan. 10, 2013