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2 travelers stopped from bringing loaded guns onto their DCA flights

They now face a stiff financial civil penalty, which can reach a maximum of $15,000.

ARLINGTON, Va. — Two out-of-state travelers were stopped from boarding flights at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) with loaded handguns on Sunday.

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers stopped a Florida resident with his loaded .380 caliber handgun and an Arkansas woman with her .22 caliber gun that was loaded with five bullets. The two incidents were not related.

Both guns were caught as they entered the security checkpoint. The X-ray unit was alerted to their carry-on bags and the guns were removed by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police officers. Officers also cited both individuals on weapons charges. 

They now face a stiff financial civil penalty, which can reach a maximum of $15,000.

John Busch, TSA’s federal security director at DCA, is warning travelers ahead of the Memorial Day holiday and summer holiday travel season to be careful of illegal items stored in your carry on bags. 

"Airports are congested, people are eager to travel and this is no time to be carrying prohibited or illegal items in your carry-on bag," he said. “Travelers who are gun owners have a significant responsibility to know where their firearms are at all times and know that they should not be in a carry-on bag. I am very concerned that most people who are stopped at TSA checkpoints with a firearm ‘forgot it was in the bag.’ And so loaded and unsecured firearms--with an oblivious owner--were near all the other travelers." 

Last year, 6,542 firearms were caught at 262 out of 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide, of those 88% were loaded, TSA said.

Watch Next: Here are the airports where TSA confiscated the most guns in 2022

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