LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) have now caught 27 guns at the airport’s checkpoints, surpassing the record set in 2017.
The 27th gun caught this year was spotted yesterday, December 10, when a Baltimore County, Maryland, man was found in possession of a .25 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber, in his carry-on bag. The man, a resident of Sparks, Maryland, told officials that he had taken the gun to a shooting range and forgot that he still had it with him.
A TSA officer spotted the gun in the carry-on bag while it was inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. The Maryland Transportation Authority Police were notified, arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges.
TSA Firearm Catches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Number of Firearms Caught at BWI
TSA recommends that travelers who shoot firearms at a range use a different bag for the range than the one that they use to bring to airports to help ensure that no prohibited or illegal items are left inside. It is best to start with an empty duffle bag, knapsack, roller bag, messenger bag, handbag or suitcase and then pack it before heading to the airport.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If the individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose their TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $4,100. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.