ARLINGTON, Va. (WJW) – A Virginia man had an unusual explanation for airport security.

The man was stopped on Sept. 21, after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport discovered a loaded handgun in his carry-on bag.

The TSA was alerted when the X-ray unit detected the presence of a .22 caliber pistol loaded with five bullets.

Law enforcement officials confiscated the weapon. But the man said it was not his fault.

The man, in an attempt to deflect responsibility, claimed that his wife had packed his carry-on bag, according to a press release from the TSA.

“My advice is that when packing for a flight to start with a completely empty bag, and all travelers must pack their own bag, so that there are no surprises when someone gets to our checkpoint,” said John Busch, TSA’s Federal Security Director for the airport.

Carrying firearms through airport security checkpoints is illegal.

The man faces a substantial financial civil penalty from the TSA. The penalty for such violations can reach a maximum of $15,000.

It’s the sixth firearm found in carry-on bags at the airport in three weeks, according to the TSA.

“There is no reasonable excuse for not knowing you are carrying an unsecured, loaded firearm in your bag,” Busch said.

Passengers are allowed to transport guns only in checked baggage. The firearms must be unloaded and placed inside a hard-sided locked case, which must be declared at the check-in counter.

Reagan International had 29 carry-on gun reports from the TSA in 2022. Cleveland International Airport reported 35 during the same period.