LINTHICUM, Md. – It only took eight months for Transportation Security Administration officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) to catch as many guns at checkpoints this year as were caught during all 12 months of 2018.
The 22nd gun caught this year was spotted yesterday when a Lancaster, Pennsylvania, man was found in possession of a .32 caliber handgun loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber, in his carry-on bag. He told officials that he forgot that he had a loaded gun with him.
A TSA officer spotted the gun in the carry-on bag while it was inside the checkpoint X-ray machine. The Maryland Transportation Authority Police were notified, arrived at the checkpoint, confiscated the firearm and detained the man for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges.
TSA Firearm Catches at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport
Number of Firearms Caught at BWI
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.