Botetourt County man cited after stopped with loaded handgun at Dulles Airport, TSA says

Roanoke Valley News

(Photo: Courtesy Transportation Security Administration)

DULLES, Va. (WFXR) — Police cited a Troutville man after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped him from bringing a gun onto his flight at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Thursday.

Officials say the 9mm handgun was loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

The TSA reportedly alerted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police, who confiscated the firearm and cited the man.

In addition, the man faces “a stiff federal financial penalty” for bringing a gun to a TSA checkpoint, the TSA says.

Bringing weapons 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 knives 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.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms 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.

Lisa Farbstein, spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration

As of Thursday, Nov. 11, the TSA says a total of 18 firearms have been caught at IAD checkpoints this year.

That number is up from the seven firearms caught in 2020, which saw significantly fewer passengers due to the pandemic. However, the checkpoints at IAD caught 19 firearms in 2019, 17 firearms in 2018, and 19 firearms in 2017.

“Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic,” TSA said in a statement on Friday, Nov. 12. “The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.”

Since firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, passengers are encouraged to do some research ahead of time to make sure you are not violating any local firearm laws. You should also contact your airline to ask about any additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

Note: TSA originally told WFXR News that the Troutville man was stopped at IAD on Oct. 21, but then issued a correction saying the incident took place on Nov. 11.

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