TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — An airline employee faces a stiff penalty after he was stopped with a loaded handgun at a TSA checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Friday.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, the gun was caught as the man, who was planning to fly to Chicago, entered the security checkpoint.

An X-ray unit alerted a TSA officer to check the employee’s carry-on bag. Inside was a 9mm handgun with 16 bullets, including one in the chamber.

The man was cited on state charges.

“Firearms should never be brought to the security checkpoint in carry-on luggage and airline employees should certainly be aware of that,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.

As of Aug. 14, a total of 22 firearms have been caught at Reagan National Airport checkpoints since January 2023.

WFLA.com has requested additional information from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and is awaiting a response. This is a developing story.