ARLINGTON, Va. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) stopped a Prince William County, Virginia, man from bringing a loaded handgun onto a flight to San Francisco yesterday, December 30.
The Woodbridge, Virginia, resident was stopped at the checkpoint with the firearm, a compact 9 mm semi-automatic handgun, which was fully loaded including a bullet in the gun’s chamber. He was cited by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police on weapons charges after the TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray machine detected the handgun as it passed along the conveyor belt with the traveler’s carry-on items.
When the TSA officers spotted the gun, they immediately contacted the MWAA Police Department. When police arrived at the checkpoint, they confiscated the firearm and cited the man. 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.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm here. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.