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Transportation Security Administration

TSA officers at Dulles International Airport catch loaded handgun at the checkpoint

Local Press Release
Thursday, August 23, 2018
Detected loaded handgun

DULLES, VA. – A Transportation Security Administration officer stopped a man from bringing a loaded handgun onto an airplane at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) yesterday, Wednesday, August 22nd.

The TSA officer spotted the gun in the man’s carry-on bag at one of the airport checkpoints when it appeared on the X-ray monitor. 

The .40 caliber handgun was loaded with 10 bullets. Typically, more than 80 percent of handguns caught at checkpoints nationwide are loaded. 

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.

It marked the 12th gun caught at a Dulles checkpoint by TSA officers so far this calendar year. Last year TSA officers caught 19 guns at the airport’s checkpoints. At nearby Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA), TSA officers have detected nine handguns at the checkpoints this year. In 2017, 13 guns were detected at DCA checkpoints. Nationwide, an average of one in 200,000 passengers bring guns to airport checkpoints.

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. Even travelers who have a firearm permit are not allowed to bring their guns past checkpoints. The complete list of penalties is posted online here: https://www.tsa.gov/travel/civil-enforcement.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here: http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.

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The Transportation Security Administration was created to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems and ensure the freedom of movement for people and commerce. TSA uses a risk-based strategy and works closely with transportation, law enforcement and intelligence communities to set the standard for excellence in transportation security.

For more information about TSA, please visit our website at tsa.gov.

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