Charlotte Douglas Airport has set a record for gun seizures, according to the TSA

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Charlotte Douglas International airport and Asheville Regional Airport saw a a record number of firearms seized at checkpoints last year, while the statewide total dropped, federal officials said Thursday.

Agents seized 117 firearms in CLTs in 2022, compared with 106 the previous year, according to data released by the Transportation Security Administration. This is an increase of 10%.

Charlotte Airport is it American Airlines hub and one of st busiest airports in the world.

The number of firearms seized at the Asheville airport rose from 15 in 20201 to 25 last year, while the number of firearms seized at Raleigh-Durham International Airport dropped from 100 to 75 last year, according to the TSA.

Agents seized three firearms near Charlotte Concord Padgett The regional airport is down from four in 2021, agency officials said.

At Piedmont-Triad International Airport, 15 firearms were seized, up from 12 in 2021, the TSA said.

According to the agency’s press release, TSA detected a total of 250 firearms in carry-on luggage in 2022, down slightly from 254 the previous year.

CLT atrium.jpeg
A record number of firearms were seized at security checkpoints at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year, according to data released Thursday, January 19, 2022 by the Federal Transportation Security Administration. Charlotte Douglas International Airport

#1 excuse for guns in airports

About 85 percent to 90 percent of firearms are loaded when found at TSA checkpoints in the Carolinas and all other states, agency spokesman Mark Howell told The Charlotte Observer Thursday.

The #1 excuse passengers give TSA agents for having a firearm in their carry-on bag? “Oh, I forgot it was in my bag,” Howell said.

That’s the case “99% of the time,” he said. “It’s very rare that someone brings it on purpose.”

Firearms are never allowed in hand luggage.

There is no rhyme or reason to the number of guns in airports

Howell said it’s impossible to explain why the number of firearm seizures jumps or falls from year to year. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” he said.

The TSA screened about 19.79 million departing travelers at North Carolina airports last year, a more than 27% increase from 2021, the agency said Thursday. Travel continues to recover since the start of the COVID pandemic.

Higher gun confiscation rate in NC

Still, the rate of firearms seized at North Carolina airports was higher than the national rate, the TSA found.

Nationally, a firearm was found for every 116,394 people screened, while North Carolina’s rate was 1 in 79,167 passengers.

State gun laws may explain the difference because some states are more restrictive than others in their open carry and concealed carry laws, according to Howell.

Madison Cawthorne’s loaded gun

maybe passenger of the highest profile Last year, then-U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorne, D-N.C., was caught with a firearm in North Carolina.

In April, he had a loaded gun and was charged with possession of a dangerous weapon on city property after TSA agents found the gun in a bag. Agents alerted CMPD officers working at the airport, CMPD said on Twitter.

According to police, Cawthorne violated a city ordinance by keeping a gun at the airport.

Police said they released Cawthorne and confiscated the gun. CMPD said it is standard procedure for airport officers to cite a passenger and not arrest them on a misdemeanor charge “unless there are other related charges or extenuating circumstances.”

Kavthornov appearance before the judge was scheduled for Jan. 13 but was extended to May 5 because the officer in charge of the charge is on vacation, according to Charlotte Observer news partner WSOC.

Heavy fines for firearms at checkpoints

Firearms found in carry-on bags at a TSA checkpoint are usually stored in the vehicle that spotted them until a TSA supervisor and then local police arrive, Howell said.

A mistake can be costly.

The civil penalty for firearms found at TSA checkpoints is about $15,000 per violation.

According to Howell, first-time offenders typically face a fine of $2,000 to $3,000 for an unloaded firearm and $3,000 to $4,000 for a loaded firearm.

He said 9mm personal handguns are the most common firearms confiscated at airports.

The TSA explains on its website, TSA.govhow to legally store a firearm in your luggage and what to do when you arrive at the airport.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989, covering the region’s people, municipalities and major news, and was the paper’s news bureau editor. He is currently reporting on the latest news.



Charlotte Douglas Airport has set a record for gun seizures, according to the TSA

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