In just eight months, security checkpoint officers have seized as many guns at Baltimore-Washington International Airport as were caught during all 12 months of 2018, authorities said last week. The 22nd gun caught this year was spotted on Aug. 28 by Transportation Security Administration when a Lancaster, Pa., man was stopped; screeners reportedly spotted a .32 caliber handgun loaded with eight bullets, including one in the chamber, in his carry-on bag.
He told officials that he forgot that he had a loaded gun with him, according to a TSA news release. Maryland Transportation Authority Police confiscated the firearm and detained the man for questioning before arresting him on weapons charges.
The TSA caught a total of 22 guns at BWI security checkpoints in 2018. Twenty-six guns were stopped at BWI security checkpoints in 2017 and 24 were nabbed in 2016.
Nationwide last year, 4,239 firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints across the country, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day, about a 7 percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017. Eighty-six percent of firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber, according to the TSA.
Firearms are never allowed at security checkpoints. Passengers who try to carry firearms through security checkpoints face criminal charges and the TSA has the authority to assess fines of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900.
To see the story by Deb Belt as it originally appeared on Patch.com, click here.
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