LINTHICUM, Md. – A Prince George’s County, Maryland, woman was caught with a loaded handgun in her carry-on bag by Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) on Friday, July 12. It marked the 19th gun caught at a BWI checkpoint so far this year. TSA caught 22 guns at BWI security checkpoints in 2018.
The woman, a resident of Camp Springs, Maryland, was stopped with a .40 caliber handgun loaded with 10 bullets, including one in the chamber. She told TSA officials that she forgot that she had her loaded gun with her.
When the TSA officers spotted the gun in the checkpoint X-ray machine they contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the woman for questioning before citing her on weapons charges and allowing her to catch her flight—minus the gun.
TSA Firearm Catches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Number of Firearms Caught
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 the individual is a TSA Pre✓® member, that person could even lose their 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 $4,000. 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.