The Carlisle, Pa., man was arrested on state weapons charges after TSA officers discovered a .32 caliber handgun loaded with six bullets in his carry-on luggage, TSA spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said. The man claimed he did not know he had with him, she said. He was arrested by Maryland Transportation Authority police, who also confiscated the gun.
Twenty-four firearms were caught at BWI Marshall's security checkpoints last year, up significantly from about 14 a year over the previous three years, Farbstein said.
Bringing a gun to a checkpoint can be costly, in addition to criminal charges. The TSA may issue a civil penalty of up to $12,000.
Passengers may travel with unloaded firearms packed in locked, hard-sided cases, but it must be brought as checked luggage, packed in the belly of the airplane, and the airline must be notified. The TSA provides instructions for gun owners on how to travel with firearms and ammunition, and advises travelers to contact their airline regarding their policies.