DULLES, Va. – A Fairfax County, Virginia, man was cited by the police after a Transportation Security Administration officer caught the man with a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets in his carry-on bag at a Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) checkpoint on Saturday, Feb. 1
The TSA officer who was staffing the security checkpoint spotted the handgun when it appeared on the X-ray monitor. TSA immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police, who confiscated the handgun and detained the man, a resident of Centerville, Virginia, for questioning before citing him on a weapons charge.
Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane in their carry-on bags.
(as of 2-2-20)
Washington Dulles International Airport guns at checkpoints
Nationwide last year, 4,432 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 12.1 firearms per day, approximately a 5% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 4,239 detected in 2018. Eighty-seven percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packed 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. If you’re a TSA Pre✓® member, then you could even lose your status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.