Woman told officials that she forgot she had her loaded gun with her
LINTHICUM, Md. - An Anne Arundel County, Maryland, woman was cited by police early this morning, May 22, at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) after Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers caught her with a loaded handgun in her carry-on bag.
It marked the 12th handgun caught by TSA at the airport so far this year, already more than half of the number stopped during all 12 months of 2018 when TSA officers caught 22 firearms at the airport checkpoints. If the number of guns that travelers bring to BWI checkpoints continues at this pace, it is likely to set a record for guns at the airport checkpoints well before the end of the year. TSA would prefer to see that trend go in the opposite direction with fewer travelers bringing their guns to checkpoints.
This morning’s gun catch, a .38-caliber handgun, was loaded with six bullets, including one in the chamber. A TSA officer spotted the handgun in the checkpoint X-ray machine, contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the gun and detained the woman, a resident of Glen Burnie, Maryland, for questioning prior to citing her on a state weapons charge. The woman told officials that she forgot that she had her loaded gun with her.
TSA Firearm Catches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Firearms caught in 2016
Firearms caught in 2017
Firearms caught in 2018
Firearms caught in 2019 (As of 5-22-19)
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked, and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, approximately a 7% increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34% had a bullet in the chamber.
As a reminder, individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with concealed firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes in their carry-on bags. If an individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose TSA Pre✓® status. In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,333 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 website. Travelers should also contact their airline as they may have additional requirements for traveling with firearms and ammunition.