Vanessa Gibbs, 17, says the Transportation Security Administration stopped her at the security gate because of the design of a gun on her handbag. Gibbs was heading home to Norfolk, Virginia from Jacksonville after the holiday weekend when an agent flagged her purse as a security risk.
After agents concluded that the gun was pure decoration, TSA officials told Gibbs to check the bag or turn it over, she told News 4 JAX.
Gibbs, who is pregnant, had missed her flight by the time security finished inspecting the bag. Southwest Airlines sent her to Orlando instead, without telling her worried mother, who was waiting for her in Jacksonville.
Vanessa and her mother were skeptical that anyone could mistake the design on the purse for a real gun because of its small size and the fact that it’s hollow.
It was not the first time Gibbs had traveled with the purse, but it was the first time it got her in trouble. “I carried this from Jacksonville to Norfolk, and I’ve carried it from Norfolk to Jacksonville,” Vanessa said. “Never once has anyone said anything about it until now.”
TSA isn’t budging on the handbag, and insists that the phony gun could be considered a “replica weapon.” According to the TSA, replica weapons have prohibited since 2002.