TSA officers catch two guns in one day at BWI Airport

Three guns caught in two days
Local Press Release
Monday, March 15, 2021
TSA officers at BWI Airport detected this loaded handgun in a Maryland, man’s carry-on bag on March 12. (TSA photo)

LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport prevented two individuals from carrying loaded guns onto their flights on Friday, March 12. The previous day, they caught a man with a loaded gun at the checkpoint. None of the incidents were related.

In each instance, TSA officers spotted the handguns in the travelers’ carry-on bags while the guns were inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA immediately alerted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearms and detained the individuals for questioning before arresting them on weapons charges.  

In the first instance on Friday, a Fallston, Maryland, man was stopped with a 9 mm handgun loaded with seven bullets, including one in the chamber.

In the second instance on Friday, a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, woman was caught with a .40

caliber handgun loaded with 15 bullets.

In addition to their arrest, each individual faces a stiff Federal financial civil penalty.

TSA reserves the right to issue a civil penalty to travelers who have guns and gun parts with them at a checkpoint. Civil penalties for bringing a handgun into a checkpoint can stretch into thousands of dollars, depending on mitigating circumstances. This applies to travelers with or without concealed gun carry permits because even though an individual may have a concealed carry permit, it does not allow for a firearm to be carried onto an airplane. The complete list of civil penalties is posted online. If a traveler with a gun is a member of TSA PreCheck®, that individual will lose their TSA PreCheck privileges.

TSA officers at BWI Airport detected this loaded handgun in a Pennsylvania woman’s carry-on bag on March 12, the second gun caught by TSA officers in one day. (TSA photo)

When an individual shows up at a checkpoint with a firearm, the checkpoint lane comes to a standstill until the police resolve the incident. Guns at checkpoints can delay travelers from getting to their gates.

Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.

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.

Guns caught at BWI Airport checkpoints 2016 to 2021








Guns caught at BWI







*Significantly fewer travelers due to the pandemic.

Nationwide, TSA officers detected 3,257 firearms on passengers or their carry-on bags at checkpoints last year, although the total number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints across the country fell by 500 million compared to 2019 due to the pandemic. The result was that twice as many firearms per million passengers screened were detected at checkpoints in 2020 compared to 2019. In 2020, TSA caught approximately 10 firearms per million passengers as compared to about five firearms per million passengers in 2019.  Of the guns caught by TSA in 2020, about 83 percent were loaded.