TSA Officers Find Firearm in Congresswoman Victoria Spartz's Carry-On Bag at Washington Dulles International Airport


DULLES, VA — Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) prevented Indiana Congresswoman Victoria Spartz from bringing her handgun onto a flight on Friday, June 28. The .380 caliber firearm was not loaded.

The weapon was discovered when Spartz entered the security checkpoint, and the X-ray unit alerted officers to her carry-on bag. TSA officials promptly notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police, who confiscated the firearm and cited Spartz on a weapons charge. In addition to the citation by airport police, Spartz now faces a substantial financial civil penalty. Civil penalties for carrying weapons can reach a maximum of $15,000.

Victoria Spartz, originally from Ukraine, is a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, serving Indiana’s 5th congressional district. She is known for her strong stance on fiscal responsibility and national security, and she has been an advocate for constitutional rights, including the Second Amendment.

Firearms are not permitted through a security checkpoint because passengers are not allowed to have access to a firearm during a flight. This regulation applies even to travelers with concealed carry permits or those enrolled in the TSA PreCheck® program. Individuals who bring a gun to a checkpoint will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms only in checked baggage if they are unloaded and packed in a hard-sided locked case. The locked case should then be taken to the airline check-in counter to be declared. TSA provides detailed instructions on how to properly travel with a firearm on its website.

Check-In and Flying With Your Guns & Ammo | Step by Step

Last year, 6,735 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide, of which 93 percent were loaded. At Washington Dulles International Airport, the number of firearms caught at checkpoints from 2016 to 2024 has varied, with 10 firearms caught so far in 2024.

Bringing a gun to an airport checkpoint carries a federal civil penalty because TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online.

Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality, and passengers should ensure they are not violating any local firearm laws. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.

For those unsure if an item should be packed in a carry-on bag, checked bag, either, or neither, TSA offers resources like the free myTSA app, which includes a handy “What can I bring?” feature. Travelers can also ask questions on Twitter or Facebook Messenger at @AskTSA, or by texting “Travel” to AskTSA (275-872).

As responsible gun owners, it is crucial to always know the location of your firearms. Mistakes like these happen too often and should be avoided. Ensuring that firearms are properly stored and not inadvertently brought to restricted areas like airport security checkpoints is essential for safety and legal compliance. This incident underscores the importance of understanding and adhering to TSA regulations and local laws regarding firearms to ensure a safe and smooth travel experience.

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