Scotty McCreery Cited for Accidentally Carrying Loaded Gun Through Airport: 'I Have Learned a Lesson I Won't Forget'

The American Idol winner arrived at the Raleigh-Durham Airport after a day at a firing range and forgot to remove a loaded weapon from his backpack

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Scotty McCreery has been cited for trying to carry a loaded gun through a security checkpoint at Raleigh-Durham International Airport in North Carolina, PEOPLE confirms.

The incident occurred on July 13 when the country singer, 23, arrived at the airport after a day at the firing range and forgot to remove the loaded weapon – a black, 9 mm Smith & Wesson handgun – from his backpack, The News & Observer reports. The X-ray screen also caught McCreery’s two boxes of ammo that contained 63 bullets.

While the season 10 American Idol winner does have a permit to carry a concealed handgun, he was cited for a misdemeanor violation for trying to carry the firearm through an airport checkpoint and board a plane with it, according to authorities.

“I have been a concealed carry permit holder for awhile now after being robbed at gunpoint in 2014, and I take gun safety very seriously. While in-between tour dates last week, I went to go target shooting with a friend a few days before an early flight out of my hometown Raleigh-Durham airport,” McCreery tells PEOPLE in a statement.

“Unfortunately, I did not realize that I left my pistol in my backpack until the TSA found it during the security X-ray screening and rightly confiscated it. I had my concealed carry permit on me so once they had checked everything out, they then released me to catch the next available flight. Great to know our airport security force is on the job. I have learned a lesson that I won’t forget.”

Nearly one year ago, McCreery witnessed the sentencing of Mikkail Jamal Shaw to 17 years in prison for the 2014 home invasion. McCreery and three of his friends were robbed at gunpoint with a pistol and assault rifle inside of a Raleigh home.

Still, McCreery does not let the frightening experience keep him from putting himself in the public eye to do what he loves.

Last month, the country crooner released the music video for his single “Five More Minutes,” which features the singer’s family home movies from over the years. The video is dedicated to both of McCreery’s grandfathers, and directed and produced by Jeff Ray.

“The whole song is talking about time, and time gone by, and time you still wish you had, and those home videos are precious moments,” McCreery told PEOPLE at the time. “Everybody’s got those kind of videos that makes you look back on your life.”

  • Reporting by SARAH MICHAUD
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