Activist and blogger Joseph F. Farah said Tuesday that his attempt to carry a loaded revolver through a security checkpoint at Dulles International Airport Sunday was a dumb mistake caused by a universal problem: lack of sleep.
“There is no excuse for my mistake,” Farah, 59, wrote in post at his conservative blog, WorldNetDaily. “In the interest of sympathy, however, I will add that I was stressed out. I didn’t sleep Saturday night, so I worked. I wrote several columns. I’d sleep on the plane to Seattle where I was giving a speech Monday, I told myself.”
Farah, who lives in Centreville, said he is licensed to carry a firearm in Virginia and several other states, a right he sought after he said he felt his life was threatened by people who object to his right-wing views. His fear, he said, grew when his writings drew the attention of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Alabama-based organization that tracks hate groups and right-wing activists with a blog it calls “Hatewatch.”
Farah said he arose “somewhat groggy” Sunday morning, checked his computer bag for his revolver and didn’t see it. Transportation Security Administration personnel using a conveyor belt x-ray machine at Dulles discovered the gun.
“At that moment, I was kicking myself for not thoroughly emptying the bag,” Farah said. “The TSA agents were very nice. They expressed concern about my making the flight. They called the Virginia police as is protocol. They took photos of the firearm and me. They gave me a summons. Then they sent me on my way.”
Farah’s encounter was not uncommon. His gun was the third discovered by security workers at Dulles this year. Nationwide last year, TSA confiscated 1,813 guns and 1,477 of them were loaded. TSA said 13 were confiscated at Baltimore-Washington Thurgood Marshall Airport, eight were found at Dulles and six were taken from passengers at National Airport.
“Again, I’m not making any excuses about my dumb mistake last Sunday,” Farah said. “What I did was dumber than dumb.”
Farah founded WorldNetDaily in 1997 with his wife , Elizabeth, and is its publisher and editor-in-chief. The site is a platform for right-wing criticism of President Obama and other liberals.