In the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) catches thousands of people per year trying to board planes with guns (which is terrifying when you consider how many are probably slipping through, given the TSA’s record on catching weapons). Well, here’s a rather high profile case of someone trying to board a flight with a gun.
Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who represents Western North Carolina’s 11th District, tried to board a flight with a gun earlier this year. This is only being made public now through a public records request.
On February 13, 2021, TSA agents confiscated an unloaded gun (apparently a “Glock 9mm handgun”) along with a loaded magazine in his carry-on bag at Asheville Regional Airport (AVL). Cawthorn had claimed that he brought the gun by mistake.
Not only wasn’t he charged with any crime, but the gun was secured at the airport so that he could retrieve it after his flight. Officers had discussed what to do — while it was suggested he should bring it to his car, his flight was in only seven minutes, and they didn’t want him to miss it, which is why they secured it.
According to recordings, officers can be heard repeating several times that there was “elected official Madison Cawthorn with a firearm.”
Rules around guns at airports vary greatly by state, and are determined by local and state laws. So while in some states you could be handcuffed (at a minimum), in other states you’re treated as if you tried to bring a bottle of water through security (except typically the TSA won’t “secure” a bottle of water for you until you return from your trip).
It’s now stated that Cawthorn may face a federal fine and loss of special security status, but nothing has been finalized in that regard.
I don’t get it:
- If I’m randomly selected for a secondary screening, I can’t get the TSA to care when my flight departs, but when someone brings a gun and their flight departs in seven minutes, suddenly they care about making sure you get on it?
- To quote RuPaul (I’m sure that’s where the quote originated, right? 😉 ), “with great power comes great responsibility,” so I feel like that should apply to gun ownership, especially when trying to board a flight with one
- Am I the only one who finds it terrifying that there’s generally not much of a punishment for trying to bring a gun through security? The TSA catches thousands of these per year, and the TSA is known for missing weapons, so it’s only a matter of time until someone with bad intentions slips through and plans a terrible attack, given that there’s limited punishment if they’re caught (I hate to think this, but… it’s true)
A US representative was caught earlier this year by TSA agents carrying an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in his carry-on. He hasn’t faced any punishment up until now, and top of that, was even accommodated by officials so that he wouldn’t miss his flight.
With thousands of guns being caught at TSA checkpoints every year with limited consequences, one can’t help but wonder how many slip through.