WASHINGTON — Transportation Security Administration officers caught the ninth gun at a Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Sunday.
According to a release, TSA officers at DCA caught 16 firearms during the entire year of 2018, so having found nine already in 2019 they are on set to break a record.
“Disturbing because TSA would prefer to see the trend go in the opposite direction with fewer travelers bringing their guns to checkpoints", officials said in a release. “Yet here it is a few days into April and already TSA has caught more than half of the number of guns caught during all of 2019.”
TSA officials said the gun located Sunday was a .380 caliber handgun, loaded with six bullets.
Police confiscated the gun and cited the Arlington man on a state weapons charge.
“This is a troubling trend,” said TSA Federal Security Director Kerwin P. Wilson, who oversees the TSA operation at DCA in a release. “We don’t want to break this type of a record, but at this pace, it sure looks like that is likely.
Travelers can take their firearms with them, but must pack an unloaded gun in a locked, hard-sided case. Then, they must take it to their airline check-in counter to declared they want to fly with it.
TSA said the airline representative will then ensure the firearm is placed in the belly of the plane with other checked luggage so no one has access to it during the flight.
Last year, 4,293 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 per day, according to TSA. That was up 7 percent from the year before.
Officials said of that 2018 number, 86 percent of firearms located were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber.