TSA officer at Reagan National Airport stops Virginia man with loaded handgun at checkpoint

National Press Release
Thursday, January 13, 2022
This gun was detected by TSA in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on Jan. 13. (TSA photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented a Fredericksburg, Va., man from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight this morning (Jan. 13).

The man was in possession of a 9 mm gun loaded with 12 bullets, including one in the chamber.

TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gu and ammunition and cited the man on a weapons charge.

“It’s early in the year and already this is the second time that the TSA team at Reagan National Airport has stopped a traveler with a handgun at one of our checkpoints,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “There is no good excuse for bringing a gun to a security checkpoint. If you own a firearm, you need to be aware of the laws regarding where you can and cannot bring it. It’s simply part of being a responsible gun owner.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on 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. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.