TSA prevents two guns from being carried onto flights this past weekend at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Monday, November 14, 2022
This gun was detected by a TSA officer in a Maryland man’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on Nov. 12. (TSA photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented two travelers from carrying loaded handguns onto their flights this past weekend.

DCA gun catch photo
This gun was detected by a TSA officer in an Oklahoma man’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on Nov. 13. (TSA photo)

TSA officers stopped a Prince George’s County, Md., man from bringing his .32 caliber gun through a security checkpoint on Saturday, Nov. 12. It was loaded with six bullets and was detected among the man’s carry-on items. When a TSA officer spotted the firearm, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police were notified, confiscated the weapon and cited the man, a resident of Capitol Heights, Md., on weapons charges. Then on Sunday, Nov. 13, TSA officers stopped another man from carrying his .45 caliber gun through a security checkpoint in a carry-on bag. It also was loaded with six bullets. The man, an Oklahoma resident, was able to work with the police to properly repackage and place the gun in checked baggage. The incidents were not related.

“This marked the 26th and 27th guns that our officers have prevented from being carried onto a flight so far this year,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “It is important to remember three things. First is that our TSA officers are good at their job in preventing guns from being carried onto flights. Second is that gun owners, regardless of their having a permit, are forbidden from carrying their firearm onto a flight. Third is that individuals who bring firearms to airport checkpoints face a stiff federal financial penalty. Hopefully, the weekend incidents will serve as a reminder to other gun owners not to place a firearm in their carry-on bag.”

If someone wants to transport their firearm on a flight, they certainly can, as long as it is unloaded, packed in a locked hard-sided case and declared as checked baggage with the airline as described on the TSA website. The airline representative will make sure the gun is transported in the belly of the airplane where nobody has access to it during the flight.”

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








(As of 11/13/22)

Guns caught at DCA checkpoints







When a gun is spotted on the X-ray monitor at a checkpoint, it slows down the checkpoint lane and delays other travelers because the conveyor belt is halted until the police arrive at the checkpoint to remove the bin with the gun and pull the traveler aside for questioning. Only after law enforcement officers remove the bin will the checkpoint lane resume operation for TSA officers to continue to screen other passengers.

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 2021, about 86 percent were loaded.