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TSA catches record number of guns at BWI Airport in 2017

Posted at 12:21 PM, Dec 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-26 18:14:24-05

A Baltimore man was arrested after TSA stopped him with a loaded handgun at BWI Airport, this sets a record for most guns caught at the airport in one year. 

On Tuesday, the 25th person was caught trying to bring gun past the security checkpoint. Last year, TSA officers say they stopped 24 guns, a 50 percent increase over guns confiscated in 2015.

"This is unfortunately, a national trend where we're seeing more and more firearms caught at checkpoints each year. We expect to hit around 4,000 firearms nationwide before the end of the year and again, that will be up significantly than the previous year," said Lisa Farbstein, spokesperson for the Transportation Security Administration.

Passengers are able to travel with firearms but they need to do pack them correctly.

"The proper way is to pack it in a hard-sided case, make sure it’s unloaded, and make sure the case is locked," said Farbstein.

You'll need to take that case to the check-in counter, let the attendant know you're traveling with a firearm and they'll take it from there.

Even if you accidentally try to bring a firearm through security, you could be looking at a very costly mistake.

"Typically, a first offense is $3,900. That can go a little higher and that depends on the circumstances -- was the person cooperative or are they disruptive to the checkpoint? Was the firearm loaded? Was it not loaded? Was there a bullet in the chamber? Was there not a bullet in the chamber? So, if you bring a weapon to a checkpoint, TSA can actually cite you up to $13,000," Farbstein said.

The Baltimore man had a 9mm handgun in his carry-on bag and it was detected at the x-ray monitor. The man was arrested on weapons charges. 

Ammunition is also not allowed in your carry-on bag. You must keep it in the original packaging, not loose or in a ziploc bag and store it in your checked luggage.
"So if you have five bullets, and I had five bullets, and somebody else had five bullets, and we all came to a checkpoint then we'd have a lot of black powder, which is an explosive, so we want to make sure that does not happen," said Farbstein.

Farbstein said of the guns seized, around 80 percent were loaded.

And while TSA is not sure why this trend keeps increasing, they are connecting it to an increased number of travelers. TSA screens around 2 million people everyday at checkpoints nationwide.