Congresswoman Charged After Unloaded Gun Found in Carry-On

Authorities at Washington Dulles International Airport on June 28 charged Indiana Republican Rep. Victoria Spartz with a weapons violation after security found an empty handgun in her carry-on bag as the lawmaker was traveling to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly meeting.

According to the Metropolitan Airports Authority of Washington, Spartz was charged under a Virginia law that prohibits carrying a firearm, stun gun, or explosive into an airport terminal.

A spokesperson for the Indiana Republican said in a July 28 statement that Rep. Spartz had not realized that the empty firearm was in the pocket of her suitcase when she went through a security checkpoint at the airport on her way to the OSCE PA meeting.

The spokesperson said the handgun did not include a magazine or bullets.

Spartz was given a summons to appear in court on the Class 1 misdemeanor and allowed to continue to her destination.

According to a spokesperson from the Transportation Security Administration, TSA agents found the unloaded .380-caliber handgun during security screening in Rep. Spartz’s carry-on bag.

Under Virginia law, it is a misdemeanor to carry or transport firearms in airport terminals. While air travelers can carry unloaded weapons, the firearm must first be declared to the airline and locked in a hard case stowed only in checked luggage, according to the TSA.

Spartz, the only member of Congress to be born in Ukraine, took office in January 2021. Last year, she announced that she would not seek reelection in 2024 but later reversed course and decided to run again. She fended off eight Republican challengers in Indiana’s May primary to appear on the ballot in November.

While Spartz was previously a vocal proponent for a strong US response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, she opposed the supplemental foreign aid package approved this spring that included an additional $61 billion for Ukraine.