LINTHICUM, MD. (WJZ) — Transportation Security Administration officers stopped 23 guns at Maryland airports in 2018, 22 of which were detected at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport checkpoints.

One was found at Salisbury Regional Airport.

Overall, TSA says, this marks a slight decrease from the 26 caught in 2017 and rebukes the national trend of an uptick in the number of firearms travelers have been bringing to airports over the last several years.

No guns were found at the Hagerstown Regional Airport checkpoint in Washington County in 2018.

4,239 total firearms were discovered in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the country last year, averaging about 11.6 firearms per day.

This marks a seven percent increase nationally in firearm discoveries from the total of 3,957 detected in 2017.

86 percent of the firearms detected at checkpoints last year were loaded and nearly 34 percent had a bullet in the chamber, TSA reports.

TSA Firearms Catches at Maryland Airport Checkpoints   

2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport  















Salisbury Municipal Airport 0 0 0 0 1

The top five airports where TSA officers detected guns in 2018 were:

  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International- 298 guns.
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International- 219 guns.
  • Phoenix Sky Harbor International- 129 guns.
  • Denver International- 126 guns.
  • Orlando International-123 guns.

TSA reminds citizens that passengers are permitted to travel with firearms in checked baggage if they are unloaded, packed in a hard-side case, locked and packed separately from ammunition. Ammunition must also be in its original box and can be packed inside the hard-side case, next to the firearm.

Even if the box of ammunition is not full, the bullets must be in their original case. Then the case with the firearm should be brought to the airline check-in counter and the airline representative informed that the passenger wants to travel with the gun. Firearms are transported inside checked baggage and are placed in the belly of the aircraft, TSA says.

TSA has details on how to properly travel with a firearm posted on its web site here.

Individuals who bring weapons to a checkpoint are subject to federal civil penalties of up to $13,000. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900.

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