The Transportation Security Administration recently announced that officers at Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport arrested a Fort Washington man with a 9 mm handgun loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber, at a security checkpoint Tuesday morning. It was the second gun that TSA officers caught so far this year.
According to a TSA release, a TSA officer allegedly spotted the gun in the man’s 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.
Passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared, the release stated. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Firearm possession laws vary by state and locality.
The release stated that 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 PreCheck member, that person could even lose their TSA PreCheck 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 $4,100. 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.