LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) caught a semi-automatic handgun at one of the airport’s checkpoints this morning, marking the second gun caught at the airport in a matter of three days.
The traveler, a resident of Huntersville, NC, was found to have a 9 mm handgun loaded with 15 bullets in his carry-on luggage when the carry-on bag entered the TSA checkpoint x-ray machine. That’s where the gun was spotted by a TSA officer who was staffing the x-ray monitor. The man, who had driven to Baltimore from his home in North Carolina and was planning to fly to Texas for a business trip, told TSA officials that he forgot that he had his loaded gun with him.
TSA contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who reported to the checkpoint, confiscated the loaded gun, and arrested the man on weapons charges. It was the 10th gun that TSA officers have detected at the airport checkpoints so far this year. Last year TSA officers detected 26 firearms at the airport’s checkpoints.
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As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.