Reagan National Airport sets record after Bethesda woman caught with loaded gun in carry-on

Transportation Security Administration agents at Reagan National Airport in Arlington, Virginia, caught another passenger with a handgun at a security checkpoint on Christmas Eve — setting another record for most guns caught at the airport in a single year.

A woman from Bethesda, Maryland, had a loaded handgun in her carry-on bag while trying to get on her  Dec. 24 flight, TSA said in a release.

The 9 mm handgun, loaded with six bullets, was taken by officers with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police Department and the woman was cited on weapons charges, the release said.

TSA said that this was the 39th gun caught at the airport this year. The previous single-year record for number of firearms stopped at the airport was 30, the release said. That record was set in 2021.

Just last month, a woman from Springfield, Maryland, was caught trying to go through one of Reagan National’s security checkpoints with a loaded handgun during the rush of Thanksgiving travel.

“Bringing a gun to an airport security checkpoint was no way to enter the holiday,” John Busch, TSA’s deputy federal security director for the airport, said in the release. “There’s naughty and there’s nice at this time of year and the nice way to transport your firearm is to make sure it is unloaded, locked in a hard-sided case and declared at your airline check-in counter. The naughty way is to bring it to a checkpoint.”

The TSA added that those who travel can have their empty firearms inside their checked luggage. However, it has to be packed inside a hard, TSA-approved case.

Travelers who bring their weapons to airport security checkpoints will face a penalty of up to $15,000, TSA said.

Guns have been an ongoing issue inside airports nationwide as over 6,000 handguns were detected at security checkpoints this year, according to the TSA. The agency said this is expected to set a new annual nationwide record.

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.

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