WASHINGTON - Three handguns were recovered today at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers - and five have been recovered in under a week.
So far, agents have recovered 17 guns in all at Reagan.
This surpasses the number of guns caught in 2019, before the pandemic when significantly even more people were traveling in the airport.
"It looks like there is an epidemic of guns showing up at our airport," said Scott T. Johnson, TSA Federal Security Director for Reagan National Airport. "Here at DCA, we are still experiencing notably lower checkpoint volumes compared to 2019, while we are seeing an increase in the number of people bringing their guns to the checkpoints."
Johnson noted that passengers can travel with their firearms only if they are packed unloaded in a hard-sided locked case. In addition, they must declare them with their airline to ensure the guns are transported in the belly of the plane to prevent them from using it during the flight.
On Wednesday morning, TSA officers caught a Fredericksburg woman with a .380 caliber handgun and a gun magazine loaded with five bullets in her carry-on bag. Shortly afterward this incident a Florida man was stopped with a 9mm handgun loaded with 15 bullets plus two additional gun magazines with 45 bullets and a tactical knife in his carry-on bag. Then, this afternoon, a Wisconsin man was prevented from carrying his 9mm handgun loaded with five bullets, including one in the chamber, from getting through the security checkpoint.
All of these travelers were cited by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, who confiscated the weapons. In addition to the citations, all three face a federal financial civil penalty for bringing a gun to an airport security checkpoint.