Transportation Security Administration officers stopped two gun-toting passengers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in four days, bringing the total number of guns seized so far in 2023 to five.
On Thursday, a Tennessee man was stopped from boarding after officials found a loaded .380-caliber handgun. The firearm was seized and the man written up by Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority officers.
On Sunday, a Fredericksburg man was stopped by security with a loaded 9mm handgun. The man was written up, and he explained to officers that, like many people stopped with guns before him, he had forgotten the firearm was in his luggage.
With a week left in January, five guns have been seized at Reagan National thus far. Though the sample size is small, even if no other guns are seized in January, a five-a-month pace would see 60 guns seized at the airport in 2023. That number would be double the previous airport record of 30 guns in 2021, a mark that was almost matched in 2022 (29 firearms).
“These marked the fourth and fifth guns that our officers have detected in just a little more than three weeks into the new year, and I can assure you we don’t want to break our 2022 record. However, if this keeps up, that’s just what will happen,” John Busch, the TSA federal security director for Reagan National, said in an agency release.
In response to a nationwide spate of gun seizures, the TSA increased the maximum civil penalty for attempting to bring a firearm through security up to $14,950. A total of 6,542 guns were confiscated at 262 TSA checkpoints nationwide in 2022.
Of those firearms, 88% were loaded at the time of seizure.