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Local man cited by police after TSA stops him from carrying a loaded handgun onto his flight at Reagan National Airport

ARLINGTON, Va. – A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented a District of Columbia resident from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight this morning, June 28. It was the third gun stopped by TSA officers so far this month and the 12th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.

The 9mm gun was loaded with nine bullets, and was detected via the X-ray machine as the man was entering the security checkpoint with his carry-on items. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge.

“During the busiest spike in airline travel since the start of the pandemic, airports are very busy and bringing a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint is an accident waiting to happen,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “If you own a firearm, it is your responsibility to know the laws, rules and regulations when it comes time to traveling with your gun, and you must know where the firearm is at all times. Bringing a firearm with you to the airport security checkpoint is a violation of Virginia law. You will be referred to local law enforcement for potential charges and you will also face a financial civil penalty.”

Firearms Caught at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022









(As of 6/28/22)

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints







Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual may lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2022, about 86 percent were loaded.


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