We have all used family members to get out of tough spots before, but a young man from Maryland recently took the shifting of blame to a new level.
After being arrested at the Baltimore Washington International Airport on October 12th for attempting to bring a gun onto a plane, a 22-year-old man claimed he did not know that the firearm was in his luggage as his mother packed his bag for him.
According to Localdvm.com, the .40 caliber rifle was found by a TSA officer reviewing the carry-on as it passed through the x-ray machine. The gun was not loaded. The TSA agent contacted the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, who subsequently arrested the traveler. The young man was charged with the illegal possession of a firearm, violating airport security rules and bringing a firearm into an airport. The discovery by the TSA agent marked the 20th gun that has been found in luggage at the Baltimore Washington Airport in the past year.
While the number seems alarming and quite high, the Baltimore airport is actually on the lower end of the spectrum for firearms, and trails behind airports such as Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta, which confiscated 245 firearms last year, with 222 of the guns being loaded. In total, almost 4000 firearms were found across the country by airport security personnel in 2017.
The accused in this case was allegedly in possession of an illegal firearm and the TSA wants to make clear that even if travelers have a firearm permit, guns are not permitted on planes.
"Individuals who bring firearms to the checkpoint are subject to possible criminal charges from law enforcement. Even travelers with firearm permits are not allowed to bring guns onto airplanes," the agency states. "In addition, TSA has the authority to assess civil penalties of up to $13,000 for weapons violations. A typical first offense for carrying a handgun into a checkpoint is $3,900."
In addition to being unsafe and reckless, not paying attention to the rules around firearms can cause significant delays and disturbance to other travelers.
“When someone brings a firearm to a checkpoint, it closes the checkpoint lane until the situation can be resolved, thus forcing the other travelers to shift into another lane and delaying their passage through the checkpoint," TSA added.
The TSA provides guidelines on how to travel with firearms and ammunition and reminds travelers that unloaded firearms can only be transported in locked hard-sided containers that are checked in. The firearms and ammunition must be declared to the attendant when checking in the bag and must be locked.
While it is unclear why the 22-year-old had his mother packing his bag, it is even more unclear whether that excuse will hold up in court.