On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-11th District, was cited for possession of a dangerous weapon after having a loaded handgun at the Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. Police say that Cawthorn cooperated with authorities after an agent found the weapon in a bag and Cawthorn said it was his.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department says it followed standard protocol in citing Cawthorn and releasing him. Police confiscated the gun. Local news outlet, WSOC-TV reported that the police confirmed that the weapon was a 9 millimeter handgun.
It is not illegal to travel with a weapon, but the TSA requires that passengers have them in checked baggage, and only “if they are properly packaged and declared at their airline ticket counter. Firearms must be unloaded, packed in a hard-sided locked case, and packed separately from ammunition.”
This is the second such incident for Cawthorn. In February 2021, he was stopped for traveling through the Asheville airport with a reportedly unloaded Glock 9 mm handgun in his carry-on bag. He cooperated with authorities and was not charged in the Asheville incident.
The youngest member of Congress, Cawthorn is currently running for re-election in the 11th Congressional District. A primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, has gained the endorsement of top N.C. Republicans, including House Speaker Tim Moore, Senate leader Phil Berger, and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis, after a series of run-ins for Cawthorn including being stopped for driving with a revoked license, and alleging in a podcast that some of his fellow congressmen engage in drug use. Most recently, allegations have arisen that he may have violated federal insider trading laws in a cryptocurrency project.