Amid Thanksgiving travel rush, Reagan National Airport sets record for number of guns caught at security checkpoints

Amid the rush of Thanksgiving travel, Reagan National Airport in Virginia has set a new single-year record for the number of guns caught at security checkpoints.

A woman from Springfield, Maryland, was caught with a loaded handgun at one of the airport’s security checkpoints on Wednesday as she was trying to get onto her flight, the Transportation Security Administration said in a news release.

Officers with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department took the 9 mm handgun loaded with six bullets and cited her on a weapons charges, the TSA said.

The TSA said this was the 33rd gun caught this year — the most guns caught in a single year and continuing a pattern of a rise of travelers bringing guns to airport checkpoints nationwide.

“There is no excuse for bringing a gun to the checkpoint,” John Busch, TSA’s deputy federal security director for the airport, said in a statement.

“Responsible gun owners do not bring their guns to a checkpoint. Today we expect to screen in the neighborhood of 6,000 to 7,000 more travelers than we do on an average day because it’s the day before Thanksgiving and our officers are remaining focused on the mission.”

Travelers are allowed to bring their firearms inside their checked luggage. But they have to be empty and packed inside a hard, TSA-approved case.

According to a news release, people who bring guns to airport checkpoints could be facing civil penalties of up to $15,000.

TSA said that over 6,000 guns were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide as it’s on pace to set a new yearly record.

In September, a Virginia man was caught with a loaded handgun on his carry-on bag at one of Reagan National Airport’s security checkpoints.

Tadiwos Abedje

Tadi Abedje is a freelance digital writer/editor for WTOP. He was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Northern Virginia. Journalism has been his No. 1 passion since he was a kid and he is blessed to be around people, telling their stories and sharing them with the world.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up