Man “blamed his wife” after loaded gun found in carry-on bag at Reagan airport, TSA says

A man who was cited by police for trying to pass through security at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport blamed his wife for the incident, saying she had packed his carry-on bag.

The incident unfolded on Sept. 21. The man from King George, Virginia, had a .22 caliber pistol with five bullets. As he entered the security checkpoint and his bag was X-rayed, TSA found the weapon, the agency said in a news release. Police confiscated the gun.

But the man told officials that it wasn’t his fault: He “blamed his wife,” saying that she had packed his carry-on bag and did not know that he had his loaded gun inside, according to the TSA news release.

In addition to the citation from police, the man faces a “stiff financial civil penalty” from the TSA, the agency said. The maximum penalty for carrying weapons is $15,000. Civilian firearms can only be brought on a plane if they are in a hard-sided locked case in checked luggage, and declared with the airline.

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The loaded handgun found inside a man’s carry-on bag by TSA officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Sept. 21.TRANSPORTATION SECURITY ADMINISTRATION

This is the sixth firearm that the TSA has found at the airport in just three weeks, according to the airport’s federal security director, John Busch. So far in 2023, 28 firearms have been confiscated at the airport, nearly matching the 29 guns confiscated in all of last year.

“It is disappointing to continue to see travelers carrying their loaded guns to our security checkpoints,” said Busch in the news release. “My advice is that when packing for a flight to start with a completely empty bag, and all travelers must pack their own bag, so that there are no surprises when someone gets to our checkpoint. … There is no reasonable excuse for not knowing you are carrying an unsecured, loaded firearm in your bag. It presents a danger to everyone around you. I urge all responsible gun owners to maintain awareness of where their firearms are stored.”

Even more recently, a woman was stopped at the Pittsburgh International Airport on Sept. 24 for trying to carry a loaded .38 caliber revolver through security. In a news release announcing that incident, the TSA said that “so far this year,” 4,000 guns have been found at security checkpoints.

In 2022, the TSA confiscated 6,542 firearms, 88% of which were loaded, at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints across the country. The federal security director for the Pittsburgh International Airport, Karen Keys-Turner, said that it is “as if there is a gun epidemic.”

“We are seeing way too many travelers bringing their guns to our security checkpoints,” Keys-Turner said.

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