Man arrested with loaded gun and extra ammunition at BWI Airport checkpoint

Man claims he forgot that he had a loaded gun with him
Local Press Release
Friday, April 30, 2021
TSA officers at BWI detected this loaded handgun in a traveler’s carry-on bag on April 29. (TSA photo)

LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) prevented a Cumberland County, Pennsylvania, man with a 9mm handgun loaded with 10 bullets and two additional gun magazines loaded with 10 bullets each from boarding his flight with the gun yesterday, Thursday, April 29.  

A TSA officer spotted the handgun and additional loaded magazines in the man’s carry-on bag while it was inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. TSA immediately alerted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the items and detained the man for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges. The Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, man told officials that he uses the bag when he practices at a shooting range and he forgot that he had the gun and ammunition with him. He now faces a stiff federal financial 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.

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.