US Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI) stopped a man with a loaded handgun at one of the airport’s checkpoints yesterday (13 August) – marking the 18th gun caught at the airport so far this year.
The man was found to have his 9mm handgun loaded with 13 bullets, including one in the chamber. The handgun was detected by a TSA officer in the man’s carry-on luggage when it entered the TSA checkpoint X-ray machine. There were also two magazines with another 12 bullets in the luggage.
The man told TSA officials that he forgot that he had packed his gun in the bag. TSA contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who reported to the checkpoint, confiscated the loaded gun and ammunition, and arrested the man on weapons charges.
Last year, TSA officers detected 26 firearms at the airport’s checkpoints and in 2016, 24 firearms were detected at the Maryland state airport.
This summer is turning out to be one of the busiest in TSA’s history and when someone brings a firearm to a checkpoint, it closes the checkpoint lane until the situation can be resolved, thus forcing the other travelers to shift into another lane and delaying their passage through the checkpoint.
TSA officers have also been busy further south as Virginia men have also been cited by airport police at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) last week after TSA officers spotted loaded handguns in each of the men’s carry-on bags.
On Friday, 19 August, a resident of Fairfax, Virginia, was caught at the checkpoint with a 9mm handgun loaded with six bullets and earlier the same week, on Monday, 6 August, a Springfield, Virginia, man was caught with a .45 caliber handgun loaded with four bullets. In each instance, the TSA officer who was staffing the checkpoint spotted the handguns when they appeared on the X-ray monitor.
It marked the seventh and eighth guns caught so far this year at the airport. In 2017, TSA officers caught 13 guns at the airport’s checkpoints.