Democrats ask TSA to crack down on guns after Cawthorn incident
Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) have asked the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) to take action against Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) for his incident involving a firearm at an airport checkpoint.
The Democrat lawmakers wrote in a letter to the TSA that the Committee on Homeland Security has “long voiced concerns about the threats posed by firearms at TSA checkpoints and in airport public areas.”
They added that they want to address “the dangerous, persistent trend our country faces of individuals bringing guns to airport checkpoints” and asked the body to share its plan to address the rise in guns at airport checkpoints.
They blasted the Cawthorn incident and said that this is not the first time that the freshman congressman from North Carolina has “displayed such disregard for aviation security; he was also caught carrying a loaded handgun through a checkpoint at Asheville Regional Airport in February of last year.”
According to Thompson and Coleman, two incidents in such a short period of time should be a cause for concern regarding repeat offenses involving a firearm.
They urged the TSA “to act decisively to ensure repeat offenders like Rep. Cawthorn face the full extent of TSA’s enforcement actions.”
They pressed the TSA to “pursue appropriate action without fear or favor against all such offenders,” regardless of whether they are public figures.
The chairs of the subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security posed a series of questions to the TSA on the specific actions taken by TSA and, local law enforcement following the detection of the firearm in Cawthorn’s carry-on.
They also asked for specifics on how many firearms has TSA found at checkpoints so far in 2022 and how many individuals who presented a loaded or unloaded firearm at a checkpoint in the
last five years were repeat offenders.
Cawthorn’s office did not immediately respond to The Hill’s request for comment.
They highlighted in the letter that nearly 6,000 guns were confiscated at airport security by Transportation Security Administration officers in 2021.
This comes on the heels of a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Security hearing held in February that saw Democrats and Republicans argue on how best to reduce the number of passengers bringing guns to airports.
Democrats argued for a fine increase for offenders while Republicans on the subcommittee argued that most offenders were inadvertent offenders — people who had simply forgotten that they had a gun in their bag, Roll Call reported.
The Hill has removed its comment section, as there are many other forums for readers to participate in the conversation. We invite you to join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.