TSA officers prevent local man from bringing handgun onto flight at Reagan National Airport

Local Press Release
Monday, April 1, 2024
This loaded handgun was caught in a carry-on bag belonging to an Alexandria, Va., man on March 30. (TSA photo)

ARLINGTON, Va. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stopped an Alexandria, Va., man from carrying his handgun onto a flight on Saturday, March 30.

The .40 caliber gun was loaded with 12 bullets. 

The gun was detected as the man entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted the TSA to take a closer look inside the carry-on bag. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police confiscated the gun and cited the individual on a weapons charge.  TSA does not confiscate firearms, law enforcement does.

Guns are not permitted through the security checkpoint and the man now faces a stiff financial civil penalty from TSA. The penalty for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

“This marked the third gun that our officers detected during the month of March, which is a very busy period due to spring break travel,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Bringing a loaded gun to an airport security checkpoint delays these spring break travelers. However, more important is the fact that bringing a loaded gun to a checkpoint is a security risk that our officers take seriously, which is why this individual now faces a federal financial civil penalty.” 

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

TSA firearms caught at TSA checkpoints at Reagan National Airport, 2018 to 2024








2024 (As of 3/31/24)

Guns caught at the Reagan National Airport checkpoints








Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and gun owners have a duty to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Additionally, contacting the respective airline could reveal any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

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 gun 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 a concealed carry permit does not allow 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.

Last year, 6,735 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide and 93 percent were loaded.

Unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either or neither? Download the free myTSA app, which has a handy “What can I bring?” feature that allows you to type in the item to find out if it can fly. Or ask on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA. Travelers may send a question by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).