LINTHICUM, Md. - A Virginia man was caught with a handgun by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) on Friday, May 24, the third consecutive day that someone was caught with a gun the airport.
The man, a resident of Hopewell, Virginia, was stopped with a 9 mm handgun in his carry-on bag. It was not loaded. The man told TSA officials that he was carrying the bag that he usually takes to the firing range and he said that he did not know that he had his gun with him. Police arrested the man.
On Wednesday and again on Thursday of this week, two Anne Arundel County, Maryland, residents were caught with guns at the airport by TSA officers, making Friday’s gun the third caught in three consecutive days.
In each instance, the TSA officers spotted the guns in the checkpoint X-ray machines, contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the guns and detained the individuals for questioning before charging them with weapons violations.
Friday marked the 14th handgun caught by TSA at the airport so far this year, more than half of the number stopped during all 12 months of 2018 when TSA officers caught 22 firearms at the airport checkpoints. At this pace, TSA at BWI 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.
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 5-24-19)
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.