A Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) prevented a Leesburg, Va., man from bringing a loaded handgun onto his flight on Monday, February 14.
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The 9 mm gun, was loaded with 12 bullets along with an additional gun magazine that had 12 more rounds of ammunition in it.
The weapon and ammunition were caught as the man was entering the security checkpoint.
They were detected among his carry-on items via the X-ray machine. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police who confiscated the gun and cited the man on a weapons charge. He told officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.
“Responsible gun owners know where their weapons are at all times,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “It makes no sense that a firearm owner would not know the location of their loaded gun. Not only was this individual cited by the police, but he now faces a stiff financial civil penalty.”
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition. Then the locked case should be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. 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 will 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. ■