Traveler Nabbed with Loaded Handgun at Dulles Airport

A Prince William County man was caught with a 9 mm handgun loaded with eight rounds, including one in the chamber, while passing through security at Dulles Airport on Sunday.  

        The weapon, along with a magazine loaded with eight additional rounds, was spotted in the man’s carry-on bag by Transportation Security Administration officer operating an X-ray monitor.

         Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police confiscated the handgun and ammunition, and detained the man for questioning. After the investigation, he was permitted to catch his flight without his weapon.

TSA officers detected this loaded handgun at one of the checkpoints at Dulles Airport on Nov. 24. [TSA.]

         According to TSA, it was 17th handgun officers have detected at the airport’s checkpoints during 2019, tying the number of firearms caught at the airport last year. In total, 4,239 firearms were found in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day. That is an approximately a 7 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded, and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber, the TSA reports.

         Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties of up to $13,333 from TSA. Even if a traveler has a concealed weapon permit, firearms are not permitted to be carried onto an airplane in carry-on bags. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. 

         Under federal law, unloaded firearms may be transported in locked, hard-sided containers as checked baggage only and must be declared when checking baggage at the ticket counter. 

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