Man cited by police after TSA catches him with loaded gun at Washington Dulles International Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, May 26, 2020
TSA officers detected this loaded handgun at one of the checkpoints at Dulles Airport on May 24. (Photo courtesy of TSA.)

DULLES, Va. – A man was cited by the police after he was caught with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with four bullets at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Sunday, May 24, after a Transportation Security Administration officer spotted the gun in the man’s carry-on bag. He also had  two additional loose bullets with the gun.

The TSA officer who was staffing the security checkpoint spotted the handgun when it appeared on the checkpoint X-ray monitor. TSA officials immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police, who confiscated the handgun and detained the man, a resident of Kentucky, for questioning before citing him on a weapons charge.

Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane in carry-on bags.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed 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.

Firearms caught at Washington Dulles International Airport checkpoints, 2015 to 2020








(As of 5-24-20)

Number of firearms caught







Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. If you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, then you could even lose your status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties for weapons violations. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.