DULLES, Va. – A Gerrardstown woman was caught with a loaded gun in a carryon bag during a security screening at Dulles International Airport.                                     

It happened Feb. 12th, according to information from the Transportation Security Administration (TSA).

The 9mm handgun was loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. There was also additional ammunition packed alongside the gun.

The weapon was caught as the woman entered the security checkpoint and the X-ray unit alerted on her carry-on bag. TSA officials notified the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police who confiscated the gun and cited the woman on a weapons charge.

The woman, whose name was not released, told officials that she forgot that she was carrying her loaded gun with her.

In addition to the citation by airport police, she now faces a stiff financial civil penalty of up to $15,000.

“It is disappointing to continue to see travelers bringing guns to our security checkpoints,” said Scott T. Johnson, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport. “Claiming that you forgot that you had a loaded gun with you is a tragic accident waiting to happen. There is no excuse for bringing a gun to the checkpoint. Responsible gun owners do not bring their guns to a checkpoint.”

Firearms are not permitted through a security checkpoint because passengers should not have access to a firearm during a flight, according to the release from the TSA.  “This even applies to travelers with concealed carry permits or are enrolled in the TSA PreCheck® program, who will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges if they bring a gun to a checkpoint.”

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

Last year, 6,735 firearms were caught at airport security checkpoints nationwide, of which 93 percent were loaded.