Was it a crime against fashion or a crime against the feds? Either way, 17-year-old Vanessa Gibbs is outraged that TSA officials wouldn’t let her board a plane at the Norfolk, Virginia airport — because of her purse.
Gibbs tells WJXT-TV from her hometown of Jacksonville, Florida that she had no problem getting to Virginia. On the way back, however, officers with the Transportation Security Administration at Norfolk International Airport threw a fit over her fashion accessory — a small purse that is decorated with a tiny, bedazzled gun.
To clarify, it wasn’t a real gun; nor did it look like a gun. To clarify, it was a purse.
"It's my style. It's camouflage. It has an old western gun on it," Gibbs tells the TV station.
A female agent with the TSA wasn’t so understanding.
"She was like, 'This is a federal offense because it's in the shape of a gun.' I'm like, 'But it's a design on a purse. How is it a federal offense?'"
The TSA told the girl that she couldn’t board the plane with her purse because replica weapons have been outlawed on the aircraft for almost a decade. Gibbs says that they should have exercised a bit of common sense with this case, though.
“It’s a purse, not a weapon,” she says.
The hold-up escalated long enough for Gibbs, who is expecting a child, to miss her flight back home. Although her mother was waiting for her in Jacksonville, her only option became a last-minute trip to Orlando.
“I was on the phone all the way to Orlando trying to figure out what was going on with her. It was terrifying. I don't ever want to go through it again,” adds Tami Gibbs.