First Mariner Bank CEO detained after carrying loaded handgun through airport security

February 04, 2011|By Jessica Anderson, The Baltimore Sun

Edwin F. Hale Sr. Hale, chairman and chief executive officer of First Mariner Bancorp, was detained at Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport Friday morning for having a loaded handgun in his carry-on luggage.

Hale, who also owns the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer team, said he was traveling to Milwaukee for a game, but was stopped at a security checkpoint in the Southwest Airlines terminal. He said he had intended to leave behind the .38 caliber revolver that he regularly carries in his briefcase.

"I just completely forgot," Hale said from his Baltimore office Friday afternoon, after missing his flight. He said he received a criminal summons in the incident and planned to secure an attorney.

Cheryl Sparks, a spokeswoman with the Maryland Transportation Authority Police, said Hale was not arrested, but "was detained as a result of a TSA screening violation. This will be presented to the State's Attorney office" in Anne Arundel County, so prosecutors can determine whether criminal charges should be filed.

Hale "was detained and processed in accordance with policy," Sparks said, but she would not elaborate on specific violations.

According to the Transportation Security Administration, travelers can only take unloaded guns in their checked luggage and must "declare all firearms" to the airline beforehand. Guns must be packed in a locked, hard-sided container.

In Maryland it is legal to carry a handgun with a permit issued by the state police. Applicants for a permit must have "good and substantial reason" to carry a handgun, according to the state police, and the permit must be "necessary as a reasonable precaution against apprehended danger." The permit must be carried while carrying, wearing or transporting the handgun.

Hale said he's had a right-to-carry permit for 25 years and owns several handguns, as well as hunting rifles. He said he regularly keeps the revolver with him, but never travels with a gun, even on a private plane, and usually is "extremely careful with it."

Hale said that as he rushed to BWI, he forgot to remove the revolver from his briefcase. Passing through the Concourse B security lines, a Transportation Security Administration employee stopped him and asked if the briefcase was his.

"I thought it was because my toothpaste tube was too big," Hale said, before remembering the gun.

Although he was allowed to leave, he missed his flight and the Blast's game against the Milwaukee Wave.

Hale calls himself an avid duck and goose hunter and often travels to his Eastern Shore home to shoot game. "I've always handled guns. I've always like them," he said, adding that he's always been cautious with them.

Still, he's "rethinking" carrying the revolver in the future.

He said, "This was a major oversight."

jkanderson@baltsun.com

Baltimore Sun reporter Hanah Cho contributed to this article.

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