TSA officers at Charlotte Douglas Int’l Airport catch record number of handguns at checkpoints

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers working at Charlotte Douglas International Airport stopped two North Carolina men with loaded handguns from getting past the airport checkpoint yesterday (Nov. 28), marking the 59th and 60th guns that TSA officers have caught at the airport so far this year. In 2017, TSA officers stopped 54 guns, and with one month to go in the year, already the TSA officers have caught more guns in 11 months of 2017 than they did in 12 months of 2016.

On Tuesday morning, a Charlotte, North Carolina, resident was stopped with a gun when the TSA officer who was staffing the X-ray monitor spotted the .45 caliber gun loaded with five bullets in the man’s shoulder bag. During the afternoon, a Rockwell, North Carolina, resident man was caught with his gun when the TSA officer who was at the X-ray monitor spotted a 9 mm gun that was loaded with six bullets in his attaché. The two incidents are not believed to be related.

A TSA officer detected this .45 caliber gun, loaded with five bullets, in the shoulder bag of a Charlotte, North Carolina, man at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Tuesday. (TSA photo)

In each instance, TSA officials notified the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, which responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the guns, detained the men for questioning and cited each individual on a state weapons charge. Both men claimed that they forgot that they were carrying loaded guns with them.

“If someone owns a firearm, they should know where it is at all times,” said TSA’s North Carolina Federal Security Director Kevin Frederick. “TSA officers here at Charlotte are good at their jobs, as evidenced by these gun catches. However, we would rather that people pack their guns properly for travel or leave them home.”

TSA Firearms Caught at CLT



Number of Firearms Caught in 2015

Number of Firearms Caught in 2016

Number of Firearms to date in 2017

Charlotte Douglas

International Airport








 As a reminder, firearms, firearm parts and ammunition—are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000.

Individuals are responsible for the contents of bags they bring to the security checkpoint, and TSA’s advice is to look through bags thoroughly before coming to the airport to make sure there are no illegal or prohibited items.  Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality and travelers should familiarize themselves with state and local firearm laws for each point of travel prior to departure and they should ensure that they have the proper firearm permit for the state in which they are traveling.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on TSA.gov. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.