TSA prevents Virginia man from carrying his loaded gun onto a flight at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Thursday, August 4, 2022
This gun was detected by a TSA officers in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on August 3. (TSA photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented a Charlottesville, Va., man from carrying his loaded handgun onto a flight on Wednesday, Aug. 3. It was the 18th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.

The .40 caliber gun was loaded with five bullets and was among the man’s carry-on items. When TSA officers spotted the firearm, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police were notified, confiscated the weapon and cited the man.

The man told officials that he was in a rush to fly to Florida to attend a funeral and forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.

“If you own a firearm, it is your responsibility to know where it is at all times,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “We have a strong working relationship with the MWAA Police and we work hand-in-glove with them when we find that someone has forgotten to properly secure their firearm for a flight. This partnership helps to ensure the safety and security of passengers, flight crew and all individuals who work in and pass through the airport.”

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.

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








(As of 8/3/22)

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints







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.