Freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) tried to bring a Glock 9mm handgun through airport security in Asheville, North Carolina, in February, the Raleigh News & Observer reported. The incident was first revealed in audio obtained by FireMadison.com, a group trying to drive the far-right Cawthorn from the halls of Congress. But according to the 25-year-old legislator’s spokesman, the entire dustup was just a simple mistake. “Five months ago, while boarding a flight, Rep. Cawthorn erroneously stowed a firearm in his carry-on (that often doubles as a range bag) instead of his checked bag,” Cawthorn spokesman Micah Bock said in a statement. “The firearm was secured, and unchambered. Rep. Cawthorn endeavors to always follow TSA guidelines, and quickly rectified this situation before boarding his flight.”
“If you and I did that, we’d be detained. We’d be questioned. The gun would be secured. A report would be written. We certainly wouldn’t make our flight,” FireMadison.com president David Wheeler told the News & Observer.
The TSA seized twice as many guns from travelers in 2020 as it did the year before, even though few people were flying at the height of the coronavirus pandemic, Forbes reported in April. A TSA spokesperson told the outlet that a majority of those caught with guns in their carry-ons claim they forgot the weapon was there.