TSA officers caught five handguns at BWI Airport checkpoints in June

All five travelers arrested or cited by Maryland Transportation Authority Police
Local Press Release
Thursday, July 1, 2021

LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught five handguns at the security checkpoints at Baltimore /Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport during June, bringing the total for the year to 12.

In each instance, the guns were detected inside a carry-on bag by the TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint X-ray monitor. The bags were then pulled aside and inspected by Maryland Transportation Authority Police. The police confiscated the weapons and detained the individuals for questioning before arresting or citing them on weapons charges. In addition to criminal charges, each individual 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.

Details of the guns that were detected at BWI in June are below.

  • On June 6, a Mercersburg, Pennsylvania, man was in possession of a .22 caliber handgun loaded with five bullets. The individual was arrested.
  • On June 7, a Forest Hill, Maryland, man was in possession of a .380 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets. The individual was arrested.
  • On June 16, a Nags Head, North Carolina, man was in possession of a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 10 bullets. The individual was arrested.
  • On June 25, a Baltimore, Maryland, man was in possession of a .22 caliber handgun loaded with five bullets. The individual was arrested.
  • On June 30, a Waynesboro, Pennsylvania, woman was in possession of a .40 caliber handgun. The individual was cited.

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.