TSA photo of the gun detected at Des Moines International Airport on October 3.

Weekly Update: TSA Firearm Detections

Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) detected a 9 mm handgun loaded with eight bullets in a carry-on bag of a Madison County, Virginia, woman on October 1.

The gun was spotted by a TSA officer in the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA contacted the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint and confiscated the gun from the woman, a resident of Banco, Virginia. The gun was tucked in her computer travel bag.

Eight firearms have been caught at DCA checkpoints so far this year. In 2019, the annual total was 14.

On October 3, TSA officers caught a man with a 9 mm caliber handgun loaded with five bullets, including one in the chamber, in his carry-on bag at Des Moines International Airport. TSA officials immediately alerted the Des Moines Police, who responded to the checkpoint, and confiscated the firearm from the traveler before citing him on a weapons charge. The man was a resident of Guam.

This was the fourth firearm detection at Des Moines International this year. TSA officers detected 12 guns at the checkpoints in 2019.

At the Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) security checkpoint on October 4, TSA officers detected a .380 caliber firearm in a male passenger’s carry-on bag. The Chicago Police Department was called and confiscated the firearm and removed the passenger from the checkpoint area.

TSA officers have detected 23 firearms at ORD security checkpoints in 2020. A total of 50 firearms were detected during screenings at the airport last year.

Kentucky TSA reports that officers have discovered a total of 24 firearms at airport security checkpoints throughout the state between March and September 2020.

During the six-month period, TSA officers at Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky found a total of 15 firearms.  Five guns were detected at Louisville Muhammed Ali International Airport, along with another four at Blue Grass Airport in Lexington.

Each of the firearms were discovered in passenger carry-on bags. In each incident, TSA notified local law enforcement, who removed the passengers and the firearms from the checkpoint area.

A total of 44 firearms were detected during the same period last year, however, passenger volumes have ranged between 60-90 percent lower in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Kylie Bielby has more than 20 years' experience in reporting and editing a wide range of security topics, covering geopolitical and policy analysis to international and country-specific trends and events. Before joining GTSC's Homeland Security Today staff, she was an editor and contributor for Jane's, and a columnist and managing editor for security and counter-terror publications.

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