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TSA prevents local man from carrying his loaded gun onto a flight at Reagan National Airport

September 21, 2022

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) prevented a Prince George’s County, Md., man from carrying his loaded handgun onto a flight this morning, Wednesday, Sept. 21. It was the 20th gun detected by TSA officers at the airport so far this year.

The 9mm gun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber. It was located among the man’s carry-on items. When TSA officers spotted the firearm, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) Police were notified, confiscated the weapon and cited the man, a resident of Ft. Washington, Md.

“Our TSA officers are very good at detecting firearms and other prohibited items at security checkpoints,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Travelers play an important role in their personal experience traversing through a security checkpoint. That often starts with knowing all contents of their carry-on bag and which items should not be packed in that carry-on bag. All responsible gun owners know where their firearm is at all times and know how to pack it for a flight. It’s imperative they do a pre-trip inspection of their carry-on and positively account for their firearms. This will reduce the troubling number of passengers bringing weapons to the security checkpoints across the system.”

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 2021, about 86 percent were loaded.


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