Madison Cawthorn Brings Loaded Gun to Charlotte Airport

Far right Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-North Carolina) was cited Tuesday morning for carrying a loaded gun while trying to enter a security checkpoint at the Charlotte Douglas International Airport — the second time he’s brought a gun to an airport in the past two years.

The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD) was called in by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) after discovering a loaded 9-millimeter handgun in one of his bags. CMPD cited Cawthorn for possession of a deadly weapon on city property, a misdemeanor violation.

Cawthorn was released upon being given the citation, and his gun was confiscated by police.

“Mr. Cawthorn stated that the firearm was his and he was cooperative with the CMPD officers,” a press release from the police said.

The penalty for having a loaded weapon while trying to get through a TSA checkpoint can be as high as $13,900. Typically, the fines are higher for repeat offenders.

This is the second instance over the past two years that Cawthorn has brought a loaded gun to a TSA checkpoint. In February 2021, Cawthorn was stopped at an airport in Asheville, North Carolina, after a loaded gun was discovered in his possession. At the time, a spokesperson for Cawthorn said that he had “erroneously stowed a firearm in his carry-on” that he sometimes used as a range bag.

Cawthorn has previously admitted to being armed during the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol building. He also has a troubling history of being armed in places where dangerous weaponry is prohibited.

Over the span of a four-week period last fall, Cawthorn brought knives to educational facilities four separate times at two different schools. In one of those instances, Cawthorn brought a knife to a political debate against Democratic challenger Jay Carey.

According to North Carolina state statutes, it is unlawful for any person to carry the types of knives that Cawthorn had in his possession on school grounds at any time.

Cawthorn’s actions and statements in the past few weeks — particularly his claims that some lawmakers and party insiders have invited him to sex parties — have provoked the ire of even his Republican colleagues. As a result of Cawthorn’s recent run-ins with the law, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-North Carolina) has suggested that perhaps the 26-year-old congressman is not mature enough to be a lawmaker.

“Speeding tickets have happened, and driving without a license has happened,” Tillis said in a recent interview, alluding to other police interactions Cawthorn has had. “These things just speak to judgment. Judgment or maturity.”

A group of North Carolina residents has also alleged that Cawthorn should be barred from being able to run for office at all, describing him as an insurrectionist for his role in trying to overturn the 2020 presidential election and citing the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A federal judge has dismissed the complaint, but that ruling could still be appealed in the future should Cawthorn win his GOP primary race later this year.