TSA catches local woman caught with loaded gun at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Monday, September 14, 2020
TSA officers detected this loaded handgun in a woman’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on Sept. 12. (TSA photo)

WASHINGTON – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) detected a 9 mm handgun loaded with 10 bullets including one in the chamber in a carry-on bag of a local woman on Saturday, Sept. 12.

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 from the woman, a resident of Alexandria, Virginia.

“This gun was caught by our TSA officers just one day after the nation observed the 19th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on our homeland,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “The anniversary was marked by extensive media coverage and the date itself is seared into the minds of Americans. Yet one day later this traveler did not realize that she was not allowed to bring her loaded gun onto her flight. The fact that guns are not allowed to be carried onto aircraft is a law that has been in place decades before TSA existed,” he said. “This individual now faces stiff Federal financial civil penalties for her mistake.”

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns with them at a checkpoint. A typical first offense for carrying a loaded handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100 and can go as high as $13,669 depending on any 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. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck™, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck™ privileges.

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints from 2015 to 2020








(as of 9-13-20)

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints







When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket 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.

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