CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — Former Representative Madison Cawthorn pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge after he was cited for bringing a loaded gun through TSA at Charlotte Douglas International Airport last year.

The former congressman told Queen City News after his court hearing Friday that the firearm ended up in his luggage by mistake and that someone else had packed his bag that day.

Cawthorn said it was during a busy time of going back and forth while representing North Carolina’s 11th Congressional District.

“I just made the mistake of not looking through my bag,” he said. “I should have taken the time to actually sit there and go through it. Unfortunately, I didn’t and TSA did a great job.”

He was fined $250 for the incident.

TSA said the Staccato 9mm handgun was detected inside a bag around 9 a.m. Tuesday, April 26, 2022, at Checkpoint D inside CLT Airport.

Photo Credit: TSA

CMPD said Cawthorn admitted the firearm was his and he was cooperative with officers. He was issued a citation for possession of a dangerous weapon on city property, which is a City of Charlotte Ordinance.

Cawthorn was released after the incident and his firearm was taken into police possession, which Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said was 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,” CMPD said.

This was not the former Republican Congressman’s first run-in with TSA. On February 13, 2021, at Asheville Regional Airport, a loaded 9mm Glock was found inside Cawthorn’s bag going through screening, records showed.