WASHINGTON (WRIC) — A Stafford County woman was cited by police after Transportation Security Administration officers prevented her from carrying a loaded handgun onto a flight at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Thursday, June 16.

TSA officers stopped the woman when her carry-on bag triggered an alarm in the security checkpoint X-ray unit. According to the TSA, officers located a 9mm caliber handgun loaded with 13 bullets. An additional loaded gun magazine was also in her possession.

This gun and ammunition were detected by TSA officers in a traveler’s carry-on bag at Reagan National Airport on June 16. (TSA photo)

Upon identifying the weapon, the TSA officers alerted Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority police, who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the handgun and cited the woman on a weapons violation.

This was the tenth handgun TSA officers confiscated at the airport this year.

(Courtesy of the TSA)

“Everyone who owns a firearm needs to know that they are not permitted to be carried through an airport security checkpoint,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Bringing a deadly weapon such as a loaded handgun to a security checkpoint is a very serious offense. Guns, ammunition and security checkpoints don’t mix. Travelers are responsible for and held accountable for the contents of their baggage. And every responsible gun owner must know where their firearm is at all times. Too often TSA is told ‘I forgot it was in the bag,’ and that is also troubling.”

The TSA wants to remind travelers that bringing firearms onto a flight is illegal, regardless of concealed carry permits. Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at the airline ticket counter. For more information on civil penalties for unauthorized guns and how to correctly travel with them, visit the TSA’s website here.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and passengers should do their homework to ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

TSA officers detected 5,972 firearms at airport security checkpoints nationwide in 2021. Eighty-six percent of those guns were loaded.