Press Club

TSA nabs pistol-packing Arlington man at DCA

“This gun and ammunition were detected by TSA in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on March 24” (photo via TSA)

A local man is facing federal charges after bringing a handgun to Reagan National Airport.

The unnamed Arlington resident had a gun and five bullets found in his carry-on luggage at the airport’s security checkpoint, according to the Transportation Security Administration.

The agency said it is the eighth gun caught at a DCA checkpoint so far this year, potentially on pace to exceed last year’s total of 30 guns detected and confiscated.

Guns caught at National Airport (via TSA)

More from a TSA press release:

A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented an Arlington man from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight on Thursday, March 24. It was the eighth gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.

The .25 caliber gun, was loaded with five bullets and was detected via the X-ray machine as the man was entering the security checkpoint with his carry-on items. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge.

“I strongly recommend that any traveler who owns a personal firearm positively confirm where it is stored before departing from home,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. Before leaving for the airport, “find the weapon and see that it is safely secured. This will help ensure that it is not unwittingly stored in a carry-on item.”

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. Additionally, if a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual may lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to make sure that they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year. Of the guns caught by TSA in 2022, about 86 percent were loaded.

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