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Loaded gun slips through airport security

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  • Traveler evidently remembered having a gun and returned to airport checkpoint
  • Transportation Security Administration: Screener removed from duties during probe
  • On average, screeners find two guns a day at U.S. airports, authorities say
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A passenger who went through an airport security checkpoint -- before remembering that he had a loaded gun -- is facing charges after going back to report his error, authorities said.

Travelers go through security at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Gregory Scott Hinkle, 53, of Davis, West Virginia, went through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport about 7:30 a.m. Sunday, an airport spokeswoman said.

After the traveler evidently recalled having the gun, he returned to the checkpoint and disclosed the weapon, authorities said.

The TSA contacted airport police, who charged the man with possessing or transporting a firearm into an air carrier terminal where prohibited, a misdemeanor, and released him. He is scheduled to appear April 2 in Arlington County, Virginia, General District Court.

Hinkle did not immediately return a phone call to his residence.

A TSA spokesman said the agency reviewed airport surveillance camera videos of the incident and removed the screener from security duties while an investigation is under way.

"Appropriate actions will be taken once the investigation is complete," spokesman Christopher White said.

White said that 14 guns were discovered at checkpoints around the country last week. On average, screeners find two guns a day, he said.

"We know this is not a systemic problem in that our testing indicates TSOs [Transportation Security Officers] have a very high success rate at finding firearms. Given the high degree of reliability that our TSOs can find even carefully concealed firearms, we are evaluating every aspect of this incident," White said. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Mike M. Ahlers contributed to this report.

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