LINTHICUM, Md. – Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) stopped a man with a handgun at one of the airport’s checkpoints Aug. 19, marking the 19th gun caught at the airport so far this year. Last year TSA officers detected 26 firearms at the airport’s checkpoints.
The man was found to have his .38 caliber handgun along with a magazine loaded with five bullets, in his carry-on bag. The handgun was detected by a TSA officer when the man’s carry-on luggage entered the TSA checkpoint X-ray machine.
TSA contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who reported to the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and ammunition, and arrested the man on weapons charges. The man claimed he did not know his gun was in his bag.
This summer is turning out to be one of the busiest in TSA’s history and when someone brings a firearm to a checkpoint, it closes the checkpoint lane until the situation can be resolved, thus forcing the other travelers to shift into another lane and delaying their passage through the checkpoint.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900. The complete list of penalties is posted online.
TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site. Airlines may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition. Travelers should also contact their airline regarding firearm and ammunition carriage policies.