ARLINGTON, Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) stopped two men from bringing guns onto airplanes this week. An Alexandria, Virginia, man was stopped yesterday at a checkpoint with a loaded gun and a Frederick, Maryland, man was caught with an unloaded handgun at a checkpoint early this morning. Both were cited by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police on weapons charges.
On Wednesday, July 29, TSA officers detected a .45 caliber firearm, which was loaded with six rounds, including one in the chamber, among the Alexandria man’s carry-on items as he was passing through the airport checkpoint. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun as it passed along the conveyor belt.
This morning, July 30, TSA officers detected an unloaded .32 caliber handgun among the Frederick man’s carry-on items, as his belongings were passing through the X-ray machine at the checkpoint.
The two incidents are not believed to be related.
The guns marked the fifth and sixth guns that TSA officers have detected at DCA checkpoints so far this calendar year. In 2014, TSA officers detected 14 guns at the airport.
In both instances, TSA officers immediately contacted the Airports Authority Police Department, which polices the airport. Police responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearms and cited the men on a state charge. There was no impact to airport operations.
As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $11,000.
Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
For more information about TSA prohibited items, please check the prohibited items list and the traveling with firearms page. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.