DULLES, Va. – A Loudoun County, Virginia, man was cited by airport police at Washington Dulles International Airport after a Transportation Security Administration officer spotted a loaded gun in the man’s carry-on bag at one of the airport checkpoints yesterday, May 20.
The man, a resident of Ashburn, Virginia, was caught at the checkpoint with a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with seven 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.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority 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.
It marked the fifth handgun that TSA officers have detected at the airport’s checkpoints so far this year. In 2017, there were 19 firearms detected at the airport checkpoints by TSA officers.
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-sided 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. This includes travelers with gun permits. A permit to carry a firearm does not allow for it to be brought onto an aircraft.
TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000 for travelers who bring weapons to airports. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. Even travelers who have a firearm permit are not allowed to bring their guns past checkpoints. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
The TSA 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.