GOP Congresswoman Faces Weapons Charge at Airport

( – Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) arrived at Dulles International Airport in Washington, DC, on June 28. She passed through security to board an international flight when authorities found a firearm in her baggage. The congresswoman is now facing weapons charges.

TSA officers say they found a .380-caliber handgun in a passenger’s carry-on bag. The gun was not loaded. The federal agency did not reveal the name of the passenger. However, a spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority later confirmed it was Congresswoman Spartz.

Police did not arrest Spartz. Instead, she was given a summons to appear in Loudoun County court and allowed to board her flight. The congresswoman’s office released a statement on July 1 and acknowledged that she’d accidentally carried the gun with her. They said that it was in the pocket of her suitcase while she was going through security. Spartz was on her way to Europe for a meeting of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe Parliamentary Assembly.

Federal rules allow passengers to travel with firearms but they must declare the weapons with the airline. They are also required to pack the guns in a hard-sided case in their checked baggage, not their carry-on cases. It’s against federal law to carry a gun through secure areas in the airport, including security checkpoints.

Spartz isn’t the only member of Congress to accidentally carry a gun through an airport. Former Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was stopped in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2022, for carrying a loaded gun at the airport. He was given a citation for possession of a dangerous but wasn’t arrested. He later pleaded guilty, was fined $250, and his firearm was later returned.

In 2023, a Washington state senator was arrested in Hong Kong for accidentally flying into the Chinese city with a gun. Senate Jeff Wilson (R) was traveling to the city for vacation when he found a gun in his bag. He was later acquitted by a Hong Kong court.

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