Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina sparked outrage after he was cited for bringing a loaded gun through a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport.
According to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department, Cawthorn committed a “weapon law violation" when TSA agents detected a loaded Staccato 9mm handgun around 9 a.m. at a checkpoint inside the airport.
Police said "Mr. Cawthorn stated the firearm was his and he was cooperative with the CMPD officers.
"Mr. Cawthorn was issued a citation for Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on City Property, which is a City of Charlotte Ordinance. Mr. Cawthorn was released, and the CMPD took possession of the firearm, which is normal procedure."
"It is standard procedure for the CMPD Airport Division to cite in lieu of arrest for the misdemeanor charge of Possession of a Dangerous Weapon on City Property unless there are other associated felony charges or extenuating circumstances."
This is the second time in a little over a year Cawthorn has been caught with a weapon at an airport. The TSA notes on its website repeat offenders can be fined over $13,000.
The incident made waves on social media.
Many criticized Cawthorn, saying he poses a threat to public safety and anyone else not in his position of power would have been arrested for the same action.
The incident is not the first time Cawthorn has run afoul of the law, having generated headlines for behavior his critics have derided as reckless.
Cawthorn even has a history of unlawfully carrying weapons, as when he sparked controversy when he was accused of bringing a large knife to a school board meeting in his district.
Cawthorn, who appeared at the school board meeting to protest COVID-19 restrictions and mask mandates, denied the allegations, saying he didn't "know anything about it."
Back in February 2021, Cawthorn was stopped at the Asheville Regional Airport after TSA agents discovered an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun and loaded magazine in Cawthorn's carry-on luggage.
Cawthorn's gun was confiscated. He was allowed to retrieve it when he returned to Asheville.