Newly elected U.S. Rep Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) speaks as supporters of U.S. President Donald Trump gather by the White House ahead of Trump's speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 presidential election in Washington, DC, on January 6, 2021.
Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC).
  • Republican congressman Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane while carrying a gun in February.
  • Newly obtained records show that North Carolina's Cawthorn was not fined or given a criminal referral.
  • Typically similar incidents would incur a fine between $3,000 and $10,000.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

Rep. Madison Cawthorn tried to board a plane while carrying a gun in February, according to newly obtained records.

The incident came to light after, a campaign looking to unseat the Republican congressman, obtained audio recordings and records of the incident from Asheville Regional Airport Authority.

Records revealed that Cawthorn was attempting to board a plane in Asheville, North Carolina, on February 15 when airport security found an unloaded Glock 9mm handgun and a loaded magazine in his carry-on.

After finding the gun, airport police questioned Cawthorn, secured the gun, and wrote a report. Cawthorn was not charged with a crime or fined.

Cawthorn was permitted to pick up the gun on February 22 after returning from his trip.

David B. Wheeler, President of, said in a statement that the incident was "a serious violation of the law" and questioned why Cawthorn had not been arrested or fined.

"If you or I brought a loaded gun to the airport, we would be arrested, fined $10,000, and end up in front of a judge
to answer for our illegal activity," he said.

Typically having a loaded firearm or an unloaded firearm with accessible ammunition at an airport checkpoint or on a plane carries a fine between $3,000 and $10,000 and a criminal referral.

TSA spokesperson Mark Howell told the Citizen Times that in almost all cases, those found to be improperly transporting guns face federal civil fines, and an elected official should not be excluded from the potential punishment.

He told the paper that Cawthorn's case from February was "still pending" and declined to comment on it.

Cawthorn spokesperson Micah Bock said the congressman had "erroneously" stowed the firearm in his carry-on instead of his checked bag.

"The firearm was secured and unchambered. Rep. Cawthorn endeavors to always follow TSA guidelines and quickly rectified this situation before boarding his flight," Bock said.

The 25-year-old congressman from North Carolina has gained a reputation for making controversial statements, including that Dr. Fauci should be prosecuted and that vaccine efforts could result in people's guns and bibles being confiscated.

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