A loaded gun was found in North Carolina US Representative Madison Cawthorn's carry-on bag at an airport security checkpoint on Tuesday — the second time he has been stopped with a gun at an airport in 14 months, officials said.
When Mr Cawthorn went through a checkpoint at Charlotte Douglas International Airport with the gun, a 9-millimetre Staccato C2, about 9am, Transportation Security Administration officers notified Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officers on standby in the area, TSA spokesman Carter Langston said.
Responding officers identified the Republican, 26, as the owner of the bag where the gun was found, police said.
Mr Cawthorn acknowledged that the gun was his and co-operated with officers, authorities said. He was issued a citation for possessing a dangerous weapon on city property, a misdemeanour.
He was released but police held on to the firearm, as is routine.
The infraction is punishable by a fine of up to $13,900 depending on factors such as whether the firearm is loaded and whether there were prior offences, Mr Langston said.
In this case, the gun was loaded.
Mr Langston said the first time a gun was found on Mr Cawthorn's carry-on was at an Asheville Regional Airport checkpoint in February 2021.
After winning a Republican congressional primary run-off in 2020 over then-president Donald Trump's pick, Mr Cawthorn won the general election at the age of 25.
He has become one of Mr Trump's strongest supporters. The former president recently featured Mr Cawthorn as a rally speaker and endorsed him for re-election.
Mr Cawthorn has drawn criticism for recent incendiary comments, including one in which he called Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a "thug”.
The airport checkpoint incidents are not Mr Cawthorn's only brushes with law enforcement.
Last month, for the third time in five months, he was cited by state troopers for a traffic breach, including driving with a revoked licence. He is scheduled to appear in court on May 6.
AP contributed to this report