(As originally published with additional photos, Mon, December 18th 2023)
ARLINGTON, Va. (TND) — This is not any type of record airport security screeners want to ever break.
Friday, the Transportation Security Administration reported, officers “prevented three travelers from carrying their handguns onto their flights” at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
Those incidents were not related.
The first happened early in the morning, when “TSA officers stopped a Rockville, Md., man who was in possession of a 9mm handgun that was loaded with 16 bullets and was packed alongside a gun magazine that was loaded with 17 additional bullets.
“Two hours later, TSA officers stopped a man from Georgia who was in possession of a 9mm handgun. The firearm was not loaded, but it was packed along with 15 accessible bullets.”
That was the only gun not loaded.
Then, in the evening, “A third man, this one from Stafford, Va., was stopped with a 9mm handgun loaded with 15 bullets.”
In each instance, “The guns were caught as the men entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit alerted the TSA to take a closer look inside the carry-on bags.”
Then, airport police officers confiscated the guns and all three men were cited on weapons charges.
According to the TSA, each of those travelers faces a stiff financial civil penalty which can reach as high as $15,000.
Those were the 35th, 36th and 37th guns detected at Reagan this year. Last year, only 29 were found. In 2021, 30 were confiscated. But each of the three years before that had no more than 16.
The problem isn’t only at Reagan.
“It also follows a national trend in seeing a spike in the number of travelers who are bringing guns to airport checkpoints across the country,” the TSA said.
“I am disappointed to continue seeing an increasing number of travelers bring their firearms to checkpoints,” security director John Busch said. “It’s careless to do so and there is no excuse. Responsible gun owners know where their guns are at all times.”
Plus, Busch added, “That delays everyone and is an accident waiting to happen in a busy, crowded terminal.”
Gotta travel with a gun? They have to be in checked baggage, unloaded, in a hard-sided locked case taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. The TSA has details here.