A retail shop employee at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport lost his airport access and was cited on firearms charges after a loaded handgun was found among his belongings at a TSA checkpoint, federal officials said Monday.

Transportation Security Administration officials said in a news release that agency officers found the 9mm gun at a screening checkpoint Sunday.

Airport police who responded confiscated the gun and the employee’s ID badge in addition to citing him. A spokesperson from the Maryland Transportation Authority Police said the man is facing criminal charges that could lead to jail time or a fine.

Tens of thousands of suitcases, backpacks, purses, strollers, messenger bags and more traverse the concourses at BWI every day — TSA officials have confiscated 21 guns from inside of them so far this year.

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Officials did not identify the man, who is from Baltimore. TSA officials said he will be unable to report to work without his airport identification badge, and he could also face a federal civil citation, which could cost thousands of dollars.

“Similar to passengers, individuals who work at the airport are prohibited from bringing any prohibited items onto the secure side of the checkpoint,” said Christopher Murgia, TSA’s federal security director for Maryland, in a statement. “We are always on alert for employees who may have possible bad intentions, which could possibly represent a threat to aviation security.”

Officials did not say what reason the employee gave for carrying the firearm. The case remains under investigation and officials have not determined if the employee will get his airport identification badge back.

TSA officers prevented nearly 7,000 firearms — 93% of which were loaded — from getting through security at airports across the country last year. The agency screened nearly 500 million checked bags and 2 billion carry-on items in 2023.

Air passengers can legally travel with firearms in checked baggage as long as they are unloaded, declared with the airline and stored within a locked, hard-sided container.

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The unofficial start to the summer vacation season, Memorial Day weekend is typically one of the busiest travel periods of the year. More than 36,000 passengers departed from a BWI terminal on Friday, making it the busiest day for departures so far this year, according to Jonathan Dean, BWI’s communications director. Departing passenger traffic this month is up 3% from May of 2023, Dean said.