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TSA concerned about rise in guns found at BWI Airport checkpoints

WUSA-TV Washington, D.C. 3/24/2023 Alanea Cremen

The Transportation Security Administration is concerned about how many guns are being found at checkpoints inside the Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport (BWI).

In a release from the TSA and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, there has been an increase in travelers attempting to carry handguns through security checkpoints at BWI. 

In 2022, TSA officers found 35 handguns at the airport's security checkpoints, which was a new record for the most guns brought to the airport checkpoints in a single year. More than 80% of the guns caught at BWI were loaded. 

In 2023, officials have found 10 guns at BWI checkpoints so far.

“The most common excuse we hear is that someone forgot that they had their gun with them,” said Christopher Murgia, TSA’s Federal Security Director for Maryland. “That’s no excuse. If you own a firearm, you need to know where it is at all times. It’s part of being a responsible gun owner.”

Murgia commended TSA officers while adding that this is not the type of record TSA wants to set. 

"We would much rather see travelers pack their firearms properly for a flight or leave them at home.”

According to TSA, more than 6,500 firearms were caught by officers at 262 out of the 430 airport security checkpoints nationwide. Nearly 90% of those guns were loaded. 

“The [Maryland Transportation Authority] Police are committed to ensuring a safe travel experience for everyone traveling through BWI Airport,” MDTA Police Capt. Kevin Ayd said. “A big piece of that mission is partnering with TSA to ensure firearms are transported safely and legally.”

Click here to see the record of guns found at BWI Airport Security Checkpoints between 2017 and 2023.

Whenever a gun is detected at a security checkpoint, the MDTA Police are notified. The weapon is confiscated and officers decide whether the individual should possibly be cited or arrested.  

Firearms are not allowed through security checkpoints but passengers are permitted to travel with guns in checked baggage if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. The TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its website.

Those caught bringing weapons to airports face a recently increased fine of up to $15,000. 

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