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US Government Official Charged With TSA Gun Violation At Washington Dulles Airport

Summary Rep. Victoria Spartz carried an unloaded handgun at Washington Dulles International Airport, receiving a citation.
TSA intercepts thousands of firearms annually; 6,737 were confiscated in 2023, the highest in history.
Passengers can travel with firearms in checked baggage if unloaded, in a hard-sided case, and declared to the airline.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers intercept thousands of firearms every year. Joining the list this year is GOP Rep. Victoria Spartz, who was found carrying an unloaded handgun at Washington Dulles International Airport. She was headed to an international meeting in Europe when she was issued a citation.
Government official charged with weapons violation
On June 28, TSA officers charged Victoria Spartz, the Republican US Representative from Indiana’s fifth district, with weapons violation at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD). According to her office, Spartz was traveling to Romania to attend a meeting for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly. She received a citation before flying out.
According to CNN, a Transportation Security Administration spokesperson said that the TSA found a .380 caliber firearm during the security screening. It was unloaded and in her carry-on bag. NBC News quotes a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority as saying,
“Last Friday, Rep. Spartz accidentally carried an empty handgun in her suitcase with no magazine or bullets, which she did not realize was in the pocket of her suitcase, while going through security at Dulles airport.”
Photo: Jim Lambert I Shutterstock
Spartz is the first Ukrainian-born immigrant to serve in Congress. She is seeking re-election in Indiana’s 5th Congressional District and joins a list of other government officials charged with weapons violations by TSA. In 2022, then-Rep. Madison Cawthorn also received a citation for carrying a loaded handgun at an airport screening.
In June, Cylenthia LaToye Miller, a juvenile judge for Wayne County, was caught with a loaded gun at the TSA screening at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). She, too, was cited for possession of a dangerous firearm.
TSA intercepts thousands of firearms every year
TSA officers have to deal with passengers violating firearms rules regularly at airport screenings. In January, it revealed that throughout 2023, it confiscated a total of 6,737 firearms at airport security checkpoints, a slight increase from 2022, when it intercepted 6,542 firearms. In fact, the 2023 figure was the highest in the history of TSA.
Photo: Elliott Cowand Jr | Shutterstock
Up until April this year, the TSA intercepted a little over 1,500 firearms at airport checkpoints nationwide, averaging 16.5 per day. This number was almost identical to the same period in 2023, but it represents a slight decline in the rate of firearms detected per million passengers, as more passengers are taking to the skies in 2024 compared to 2023.
What are the rules?
Passengers are allowed to travel with a firearm as long as they meet certain conditions. Of course, firearms are not allowed at airport security checkpoints and in the passenger cabin of an aircraft. But they can be secured in the passenger’s checked baggage, locked in a hard-sided case, packed unloaded, and declared to the airline when checking the bag at the ticket counter.
TSA Administrator David Pekoske highlighted how bringing a firearm to a security checkpoint can slow down the process. He recommends that passengers “start with a clean bag when they pack to ensure no firearms, weapons, or other prohibited items are present.” Simple Flying has analyzed this in detail in the article below.
Related What Are The TSA Rules For Traveling With A Firearm? As TSA releases statistics on the number of firearms seized at airports across the US, what are the rules when flying with a firearm?
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