Transportation Security Administration seizes three firearms at Reagan and Dulles airports
Forgetful fliers continue to run into gun trouble, with security seizing three loaded handguns in three recent incidents at Washington-area airports.
On Sunday, Transportation Security Administration officers detained two foreign flyers before they could board with handguns in their carry-on luggage at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
A Florida man was arrested with a loaded .380 caliber handgun; the number of bullets in the gun at the time of seizure was not mentioned. Another traveler, a woman from Arkansas, was arrested with a .22 caliber handgun with five bullets loaded.
On Monday, TSA agents at Washington Dulles International Airport caught a Frederick County, Maryland man with a 9mm handgun, loaded with four bullets, in his carry-on.
In all three incidents, the X-rays helped the TSA catch the guns; Police officers from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority then came, secured and seized the firearms securely, and listed each person on weapons charges.
Until the police arrived, however, all passenger checks had to be halted, to be sure the firearm was properly secured.
“When someone shows up with a gun at the checkpoint, the conveyor belt is stopped until the police arrive and can remove the hand luggage from the x-ray machine to secure the gun in safely,” said Scott Johnson, director of security at the TSA. in Dulles.
The maximum penalty for bringing a loaded handgun in carry-on luggage was increased to $14,950 in December 2022, after a record 6,542 guns were seized at 262 of 430 TSA checkpoints in national scale.
Of these firearms, 88% were loaded.
The TSA has expressed concern about the number of travelers caught with firearms citing forgetfulness as the reason they had the firearm on them at the airport.
“I’m very concerned that most people stopped at TSA checkpoints with a gun ‘forgot it was in the bag.’ an unconscious owner — were in close proximity to all other travelers,” said John Busch, TSA director of security at Reagan National.
So far in 2023, TSA agents at Reagan National have intercepted 16 firearms, after taking 29 firearms in 2022. In Dulles, 11 firearms have been seized this year, 25 of which have been recovered in hand luggage in 2022.