Transportation Security Administration officers said Friday that they’ve confiscated the fourth gun in three days from a security checkpoint at Reagan National Airport.
In the latest incident, an Alexandria, Virginia, man tried to bring a .38-caliber handgun loaded with seven bullets onto his flight.
It’s the 18th gun caught at the checkpoint so far this year, and the sixth in the last eight days, the TSA said in a release.
Authorities said the number of guns caught at the airport is skyrocketing.
“We have caught more guns in just the first seven months of this year than any other full calendar year,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA federal security director for Reagan National Airport. “The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot that they had their gun with them. That’s just not acceptable.
And let me be clear that even if you have a permit to carry a concealed weapon, you still cannot bring it on to your flight. Bringing a loaded gun to a checkpoint is careless and an accident waiting to happen. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times.”
The TSA reminds passengers that they can travel with their firearms if they pack them unloaded in a hard-sided, locked case and declare them with their airline to ensure the guns are transported in the belly of the plane so that nobody has access to them during the flight.
“Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances,” the TSA said.
Further information on penalties is available online.