As the holiday travel rush begins, the Transportation Security Administration continues to write up, and in some cases arrest, numerous travelers attempting to board planes with guns.
Firearms are forbidden from carry-on luggage and must be transported in a locked, hard-sided container as checked luggage. Despite this, travelers continue to, by accident or design, bring handguns with them to TSA security checkpoints.
Two D.C.-area incidents on Friday illustrate the issue.
At Richmond International Airport, a Fredericksburg woman’s unloaded .380 handgun set off an alarm going through the security x-ray machine. Airport police confiscated the firearm and wrote up the woman on a weapons violation.
Violating the weapons rule will, along with other civil violations, void a person’s TSA PreCheck status.
“Friday kicked off the busy Thanksgiving holiday travel season, which is the busiest travel period of the year … It is important for gun owners to recognize that they are forbidden from carrying a firearm onto a flight in their carry-on regardless of their concealed gun carry permit status,” said Richmond International Airport’s TSA Federal Security Director Robin Burke.
As of Sunday, 19 people had been caught with guns in their carry-on luggage at the Richmond airport. In 2021, 20 such passengers were apprehended, with 22 caught in 2020, according to the TSA.
In northern Virginia, a similar incident took place at Reagan National Airport, the 28th such gun incident at the airport this year through Sunday.
A California man attempted to bring a loaded .40-caliber handgun onto a plane inside his carry-on bag. Authorities said 14 bullets were loaded in the gun, including one inside the chamber of the firearm. Airport police confiscated the weapon and arrested the unnamed man, according to the TSA.
“If you are a gun owner, please confirm that your firearm is in its secure location before departing from home,” Reagan National Airport TSA Federal Security Director John Busch said.
DCA saw 30 handgun-related seizures in 2021, with only 10 made in 2020.
• Brad Matthews can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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