LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) caught a Harford County, Maryland, man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets at a security checkpoint this morning. It was the first gun that TSA officers caught so far this year.
A TSA officer spotted the gun in the man’s 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 citing him on weapons charges.
The man, a resident of Edgewood, Maryland, told officials that he had the loaded handgun with him for work purposes yet forgot that he had it with him when he went to the airport to catch a flight early this morning.
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.
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.