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A Transportation Security Administration officer stopped an Alabama man from bringing a loaded handgun on to an airplane at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) on Wednesday. The incident marked the 12th gun caught this year by TSA at a Dulles checkpoint.
The Washington Post reports that TSA found the gun in 27-year-old Neal Mock’s carry-on bag. Mock tried bringing a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 10 bullets through security, but a TSA officer spotted the gun through the X-ray monitor. More than 80% of guns found at security checkpoints are loaded, TSA officials said.
TSA immediately contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), and police confiscated the firearm at the checkpoint and cited Mock on a state weapons charge. Fortunately, the incident did not result in any airport delays or cause any harm.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms, but only when declared and properly stored in a checked bag. Far too many passengers have tried boarding with loaded guns; on average one in 200,000 passengers bring guns to security checkpoints. This includes the Virginia woman who tried bringing a pink gun on board at Richmond International Airport (RIC) in May, a man who tried bringing a handgun loaded with 12 bullets at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) in June and recently, the American Airlines employee who tried getting through with a stolen gun. Even if a passenger has a permit to carry a firearm, they are not allowed through a security checkpoint.
Civil penalties can reach up to $13,000 for travelers who bring weapons to airports, and the typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900, TSA said. The number of firearms found at security checkpoints has only increased since 2015. In 2017, TSA confiscated a record-setting 3,957 firearms in carry-on bags across the US, averaging nearly 11 firearms per day. That’s a 16.7% increase from the record-breaking number found in 2016.
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