Loaded gun found at National Airport checkpoint

March 26, 2013

A security checkpoint at National Airport. (Astrid Riecken — For The Washington Post)

Heading to the airport soon? Just remember: Even though you may be able to bring knives onto planes in the near future, loaded guns are still forbidden.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that a traveler flying from Reagan National Airport to Montreal on Monday was stopped at a security checkpoint after a loaded handgun was found in the man’s carry-on bag.

Airport police were called (the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates National and Dulles International Airport, has its own police force) and the man from Stafford, Va., was cited on a local weapons charge.

The man had a concealed weapons permit and said he forgot the gun was in his bag, according to the TSA. The 40-caliber handgun, which had one bullet in the chamber, was confiscated, and the man allowed to board his flight.

TSA agents regularly find all sorts of weapons at security checkpoints, including loaded guns and inert grenades. Agents at Dulles found a sword concealed in an antique walking cane last week. A man was detained last October when he tried to go through security at National with a loaded 9mm semiautomatic pistol in his carry-on luggage.

Last year, the TSA found more than 1,500 guns in carry-on bags (more than 1,200 of these were loaded) in addition to a grenade launcher, a spear gun and a cannonball.

The TSA is still planning to implement a plan next month that would let travelers to carry small knives, ski poles, hockey sticks and golf clubs onto planes. The plan has drawn widespread criticism from aviation industry workers, airlines and lawmakers.

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Mark Berman is a reporter on the National staff. He runs Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and developing stories from around the country.
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Mark Berman · March 26, 2013