Last year, 35 guns were caught going through TSA checkpoints at BWI Airport.

According to TSA officials, carrying guns to security checkpoints could lead to a federal civil penalty up to $15,000 and/or a possible arrest.

“Safety and security is our number one priority for anyone who travels and comes through BWI,” said Maryland Transportation Authority Police Capt. Kevin Ayd. “Please help our cause by making sure we prevent anymore guns coming through our security checkpoints. Go through the proper channels with your firearms.”\

TSA officials provided a demonstration Thursday on how to properly pack your firearm when traveling.

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  • Make sure your firearm is unloaded.

“This is the first critical step in transporting your firearm for a flight,” said TSA spokesperson Lisa Farbstein.

2. Make sure you have a case for your gun, no matter if it is a handgun or hunting rifle.

“You can get these at any sporting goods stores or local firearms store,” Farbstein said. “Some of them have a special cutout for your firearms or magazines.”

3. Place the unloaded gun in the case with the hard side of the case facing up.

“If you have a larger suitcase, it will be OK to put it in there,” Farbstein said. “If not, they can make sure it goes in like this.”

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4. If you are traveling with ammunition, make sure the ammunition is in its original case.

“You don’t want to put a handful of loose bullets in there,” Farbstein said. “You don’t want to put them in a Ziploc bag.”

5. Take the case with the unloaded gun to the airport check-in counter, and not directly to the security check-in line.

“When TSA officers look in the x-ray machine, someone put a loose firearm in their backpack. They can detect it,” Farbstein said. “They are very good at detecting firearms. They are very well trained in determining if something is not allowed or prohibited, especially firearms.”

6. There will be some paperwork to fill out.

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“It is not a lot of paperwork,” Farbstein added. “If it takes you more than 30 seconds, you’ve got a problem. It’s not going to delay you to fill out this paperwork.”

7. The same rules apply if you are traveling with a rifle or shotgun.

“We did have somebody who thought they could save some money and not buy a gun case and they tried putting their shotgun in a golf bag,” Farbstein said. “Maybe they thought this could improve their shots on the golf course, but this is not a safe way to travel with a firearm.”

8. Make sure your firearm case is locked.

“You want to make sure there are enough locks that no one will pry it open,” Farbstein said.