Former North Carolina Republican Representative Madison Cawthorn has pleaded guilty for carrying a loaded handgun through a TSA checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport in 2022. By pleading guilty to a third-degree misdemeanor for possessing a dangerous weapon, Cawthorn avoided a trial that was scheduled to start the same day. Cawthorne received a $250 fine, and his firearm will be returned to him. The former congressman will not be required to serve probation for this offense.
According to CCN:
Cawthorn, whose trial was set to start Friday, entered a guilty plea for the third-degree misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon on city property, according to his attorney Missy Owen.
“Mr. Cawthorn accepted responsibility for this mistake. Law enforcement noted his cooperative attitude at every step. He chose to resolve this case in a manner that would ensure his uninterrupted right to possess a firearm. He remains staunchly committed to responsible gun ownership,” Owen added.
The incident in April 2022 was the second time in just over a year that airport authorities had stopped Cawthorn with a gun. In February 2021, agents at the Asheville Regional Airport found an unloaded gun and a loaded magazine in Cawthorn’s carry-on bag, according to reporting from the Asheville Citizen-Times. Cawthorn’s weapon was “secured at the airport and he retrieved it after his flight,” the newspaper reported, citing the airport spokesperson. In July 2021, when the story was published, a Cawthorn spokesperson told the Citizen-Times that the congressman had brought the gun “by mistake.” He was not charged in the incident.
Cawthorn was first elected to Congress in 2020 as a strong ally of President Donald Trump. But the firebrand lawmaker angered and annoyed a wide swath of his Republican colleagues with a steady stream of controversial antics and remarks. He claimed on a podcast that he had been invited to an orgy in Washington and had personally seen leaders in the efforts to curb drug addiction doing cocaine.
Cawthorn failed to win a second term in Congress even with the endorsement of former president Donald Trump. He lost to a Republican candidate who had the backing of state GOP members. Cawthorn has also faced criticism in the past for a video which showed him naked in bed with another man. Cawthorn claims he was joking with a friend in the video.