Man cited after TSA stops him with loaded handgun at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Friday, May 29, 2020
TSA officers detected this loaded handgun in a man’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on May 29. (TSA photo)

WASHINGTON – The number of passengers flying is down dramatically due to the pandemic, but Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) remain alert and vigilant and this morning they detected a .22 caliber handgun and two magazine clips in a man’s carry-on bag.

The gun was spotted by a TSA officer in the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the man, a resident of Texas, for questioning before citing him on a weapons charge.

It was the second gun caught at a Washington, DC, area airport this week. A man was also caught and cited on Sunday, May 24, when he was caught with a loaded handgun at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD).

As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess financial civil penalties for weapons. The complete list of penalties is posted online.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline check-in counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

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.

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints from 2015 to 2020








(as of 5-29-20)

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints







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.