WASHINGTON – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) detected their first gun of the year on the very first day of 2021.
TSA officers caught a 9mm handgun and a magazine with eight bullets among the items in a carry-on bag of a Georgia man resident on Friday, Jan. 1.
The gun was spotted by a TSA officer in the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA alerted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge.
“The team of TSA officers here at Reagan National Airport is strong and they remain focused on their mission all 365 days of the year,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Reagan National Airport and Washington Dulles International Airport. “Travelers need to understand that weapons—including firearms—are just not allowed to be carried onto an airplane in a carry-on bag. However, passengers are permitted to transport their firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, placed in a locked hard-sided case and declared at their airline ticket counter.”
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.
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.