When a man was caught with a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag at a Virginia airport, he didn’t take the blame, federal officials said.
The man, who was not identified, was going through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Sept. 21 when officers saw something suspicious on the X-ray, according to a Sept. 22 news release.
Officers pulled the bag off the security line and took a closer look, according to the TSA.
Inside the bag was a .22-caliber pistol, loaded with five bullets, TSA said.
When asked why he had the gun, the man told officers his wife had packed his bag for him, and she must not have known that his bag already had a gun in it, according to the release.
“It is disappointing to continue to see travelers carrying their loaded guns to our security checkpoints,” John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport said in the release. “My advice is that when packing for a flight to start with a completely empty bag, and all travelers must pack their own bag, so that there are no surprises when someone gets to our checkpoint.”
The handgun was confiscated from the man, and he was cited on state charges, according to the release.
The man “faces a stiff financial civil penalty,” TSA said, with a maximum penalty of $15,000.
“When you start with an empty bag, there are no chances that a prohibited or illegal item is inside and incidents like the one that happened on Thursday don’t happen again,” Busch said in the release.
As of Sept. 21, nearly 30 guns have been confiscated in Reagan National Airport, TSA said, including six in the past three weeks.
Across the country, more than 4,000 handguns have been found by TSA so far this year, according to the release.
Firearms can be placed in checked luggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided and locked case, TSA said. The locked case must be declared to the airline.
Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport is in Arlington, Virginia.