BALTIMORE – A traveler made two potentially dangerous mistakes when he approached the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Baltimore Washington International-Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) this morning, September 7, and placed his two carry-on bags on the X-ray belt.
The first carry-on item, a roller bag, contained a handgun. The second appeared to be a duffle bag, but it was actually a pet carrier with a small dog inside. Both were spotted by TSA officers as the bags were processed through the X-ray machine. It’s difficult to say which of the two was more surprising—the X-ray image of the gun or the image of the dog’s moving skeleton.
Firearms are never allowed at checkpoints and pets should not be placed through X-ray machines.
When the TSA officers spotted the loaded semi-automatic handgun in a gun case inside the roller bag, they contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police who responded to the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and arrested the man on state weapons charges. The 9 mm caliber handgun was packed with two empty magazines. The man also had a small knife. Police left the checkpoint with the man, the gun and the dog.
As a reminder, firearms, firearm parts and ammunition are not permitted in carry-on bags, but can be transported in checked bags if they are unloaded, properly packed and declared to the airline. Travelers who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement and civil penalties from TSA of up to $12,000. TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm.
Passengers who are traveling with a small pet should remove the pet from the carrying case and hold the animal when walking through the metal detector while the empty carrying case goes through the X-ray machine. Travelers should not allow their pets to pass through the X-ray machine. Visit our website for information on how to properly travel with a small pet.
Many pet carriers look like duffle bags and TSA officers don’t realize that there is a pet inside a carry-on bag until they see the animal’s skeleton show up on the X-ray image.