ARLINGTON, Va. – A traveler was cited by airport police at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) after a Transportation Security Administration officer spotted a loaded gun in the man’s carry-on bag at one of the airport checkpoints.
The man, a resident of Florida, was caught at the checkpoint with a .380 caliber semi-automatic handgun loaded with seven bullets, and an additional 18 bullets in a box. The TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint spotted the handgun when it appeared on the X-ray monitor.
It marked the third gun caught so far this year at the airport. In 2017, TSA officers caught 13 guns at the airport’s checkpoints.
TSA officers immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police, and when they arrived at the checkpoint, they confiscated the firearm and cited the man on a state weapons charge. There was no impact to airport operations.
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-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. This includes travelers with gun permits. A permit to carry a firearm does not allow for it to be brought onto an aircraft.
TSA has the authority to access civil penalties of up to $13,000 for travelers who bring weapons to airports. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA’s website has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.