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Rep. Madison Cawthorn in campaign literature photo

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) was caught with a loaded 9-millimeter handgun on Tuesday at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, a local television station reported, in violation of federal regulations.

It's the second time in as many years that Cawthorn has tried to bring a handgun into an airport.

In February 2021, Cawthorn attempted to board a plane at Asheville Regional Airport with an unloaded 9-millimeter handgun in his carry-on luggage. At the time, a Cawthorn spokesperson said he had the gun in his carry-on by accident.

Federal regulations prohibit passengers from carrying a gun in carry-on luggage.

Passengers can only transport guns if they are unloaded and checked "in a locked hard-sided container," according to the Transportation Security Administration. Travelers must also declare that there is a firearm in the luggage, according to the TSA.

This is not Cawthorn's first run-in with law enforcement in recent weeks.

In March, Cawthorn was pulled over while driving in Asheville and charged with driving with a revoked license. He has a May 6 court date for the citation.

It was the second time he was caught driving with a revoked license. In 2017, Cawthorn was charged with the same misdemeanor offense, but the charge was later dismissed.

Cawthorn has also received two speeding citations in the last year — one in October 2021 for going 89 mph in a 65-mph zone, and another in January for going 87 mph in a 70-mph zone, according to a local media outlet.

What's more, the Washington Examiner reported on Tuesday that Cawthorn could possibly be implicated in an insider trading scheme involving a cryptocurrency called "LGBCoin," a play on the "let's go Brandon" slogan that conservatives use to taunt President Joe Biden and Democrats.

Cawthorn often talks about the need for the "rule of law" in society.

In January, he tweeted, "I believe in the rule of law."

In October 2021 Cawthorn tweeted, "The rule of law is key to the American system."

Aside from his own run-ins with law enforcement, Cawthorn's behavior has also rankled his GOP colleagues.

In March, Cawthorn accused unnamed Republican lawmakers of having orgies, earning him a scolding from House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who told Cawthorn that there "could be" consequences for his behavior — though he did not say what they would be.

And in January, Cawthorn angered first responders when he cleaned his gun during a virtual hearing on burn pits killing veterans.

"It was immature. He's a child. He lacks common sense," John Feal, a 9/11 first responder who attended the hearing, told the Daily Beast at the time. "I think the congressman was overcompensating for something that he lacks and feeling inadequate among the heroes on that call."

Cawthorn's Republican primary opponents for his 2022 reelection bid have used his own behavior to criticize him.

"Here in the mountains, we don't seek the limelight. We put our heads down and we get to work," GOP state Sen. Chuck Edwards, one of Cawthorn's opponents, said in a recent campaign ad. "If you want a celebrity, go watch the Kardashians."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

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Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons, a novel and a memoir. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

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