From the Transportation Security Administration: TSA officers stopped two Virginia residents carrying guns from getting through checkpoints at local airports this past weekend. In each instance, the handguns were detected by TSA officers as the travelers were going through the security checkpoints. The incidents were unrelated. On Saturday (May 2), TSA officers stopped a woman from Woodbridge, Virginia in Prince William County, with an unloaded .22 caliber handgun along with 23 rounds of ammunition at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA). She was ticketed to fly to Fort Lauderdale. Then on Sunday (May 3), a man from Dublin, Virginia in Pulaski County, was caught by TSA officers at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) with an unloaded .45 caliber handgun. He was ticketed to fly to Miami. The TSA officers who were staffing the checkpoint X-ray machines at each of the airports detected the handguns as they passed along the checkpoint conveyor belt.
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TSA officers immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department, which polices the airports. Police responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearms and cited both individuals on a state weapons charge. There was no impact to airport operations in either instance.
As a reminder, weapons—including firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $11,000.
Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.
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-side case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure.
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.