Two passengers were stopped from boarding flights with loaded guns at Reagan National Airport in a span of three days -- but numbers suggest that these incidents are decreasing in frequency.
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents confiscated two loaded firearms and backup ammunition in separate incidents Friday and Sunday, the agency said.
In the earlier incident, an Alexandria man attempted to board a Minneapolis-bound flight when he was caught with a loaded .25 caliber, semi-automatic Raven firearm as well as an additional seven rounds. He was cited by the Washington Airports Authority Police on a state weapons charge.
Two days later, a Centerville, Va., man attempt to board a flight to Atlanta, while carrying a loaded 9mm Ruger Centerfire pistol. He was also stopped and cited by the WAAP on a state weapons charge.
In both instances, the weapons were confiscated by authorities.
This may seem alarming, but data show that attempts to carry firearms onto planes have seen a significant drop in 2013.
From the beginning of 2012 through August 2013, National Airport has actually seen a 36 percent drop in the number of times people have tried to get firearms through security. In 2012 alone, there were 11 incidents of people trying to get firearms through airport security.
As of August 2013, just four incidents had been reported.
National Airport is not an unusual case, either. Instances of people unlawfully attempting to carry firearms through security have dropped all over. At Baltimore-Washingotn International Airport, there were 19 cases, but as of this August, only five in 2013.
At Dulles International Airport in 2012, there were nine cases of people attempting to make it through security with firearms. This year so far: three.
The numbers nationwide are equally optimistic with nationwide stats in 2012 showing a whopping 1,556 cases, but 2013 only yielding 1,044.
The cause for the nationwide drop in firearms? It may be linked to recent tighter regulations in airport security and technological advancements that allow for less invasive, more thorough, time-efficient passenger searches.
Whatever the cause may be, the TSA still warns against attempting to bring prohibited items through the airport.
"Bringing firearms to an airport is serious business," said TSA Federal Security Director Robert Allison. "Passengers are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and our advice to passengers is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items."
For information on how to properly travel with a firearm and ammunitions, visit the TSA website at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/firearms-and-ammunition. For a full guide of prohibited materials, visit their site at http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/prohibited-items.