West Virginia man cited by police after TSA stops him from carrying a handgun onto his flight at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Tuesday, February 1, 2022
This gun and ammunition were detected by TSA in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on Feb. 1. (TSA photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented a Bunker Hill, W.Va., man from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight early this morning, Tuesday, Feb. 1. It was the fifth gun detected by TSA Officers so far this year.

Ammo photo

The 9mm gun, was loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber. It was detected as the man was entering the security checkpoint with his carry-on items. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge.

“If you own a firearm and you are planning to take a flight, it is important to know some important facts about transporting your gun for a flight,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “For starters, the gun needs to be unloaded. Pack the gun in a hard-sided case and put a lock on the case. If traveling with ammunition, keep it in its original box and place it next to the firearm in the locked case. Take the locked case to the airline check-in counter so that the airline can make sure that the gun is transported in the belly of the plane so that nobody has access to it during the flight. It is also important to know that even if you have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow you to bring your gun through a TSA security checkpoint.”

Firearms Caught at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport checkpoints, 2017 to 2022








(As of 2/1/22)

Guns caught







*Fewer passengers due to the pandemic.

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

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2022, about 86 percent were loaded.