ARLINGTON, Va. – An Arlington, Virginia, man had a bad start to the new year yesterday morning, Jan. 4 when a Transportation Security Administration officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) spotted a loaded gun in the man’s carry-on bag at one of the airport checkpoints.
The man was caught at the checkpoint with a .32 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint spotted the handgun when it appeared on the X-ray monitor.
It marked the first gun that TSA officers caught at the airport so far this new year. In 2017, TSA officers caught 13 guns at the airport’s checkpoints.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police, and when they arrived at the checkpoint, they confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a state weapons charge. There was no impact to airport operations.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. In addition, TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.