Gun gets through TSA checkpoint



A Transportation Security Administration employee helps air travelers submit their bags for inspection at Hartsfield Jackson Atlanta International Airport Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)

Yasmin Vizguerra, Reporter

An unidentified woman passenger carried a firearm through a flight from Atlanta’s airport at Hartsfield-Jackson International to Tokyo on January 2.

     The passenger noticed the firearm once she landed in Tokyo on January 3 and alerted officials who met the plane when it landed.

     The gun was taken through a TSA checkpoint in the Atlanta airport two weeks into the partial federal-government shutdown.

     TSA spokesman Michael Bilello said however the shutdown was not to blame for the security breach and that the gun was undetected because, “standard procedures were not followed.”

     About five percent of the TSA employees nationwide did not report to work on the day of the flight, which was identical to the unscheduled absences on January 3 the following day.

     Japan’s Transportation Ministry said there are no penalties for Delta Airlines or the TSA and doesn’t hold the TSA responsible and asked the organization to take preventative measures.

     The passenger that passed with a gun in their carry-on had said they forgot that the firearm was in it.

     Delta Airlines issued a statement saying that “upon the customer’s disclosure, the airline reported the incident to the TSA.”

     The TSA also dismissed suggestions that the government shutdown was to blame in which hundreds of TSA workers called in sick that day but insisted that a normal amount of workers were working that day.

     The TSA also said that it will “hold those responsible appropriately accountable.”

      Two agents were fired following the incident.

     TSA screeners have failed to detect weapons even when the shutdown came into effect as in 2015, the acting administrator of the TSA was reassigned after airport screeners failed to detect weapons and explosives in almost every test conducted by an undercover team at dozens of airports.

    “I think getting a gun through security is unsafe and is putting many people in danger,” said Eduardo Nunez (‘20).

     The TSA said that all checkpoints were fully staffed but that with many staffers calling in sick, standard procedures weren’t followed.

     TSA employees have worked without pay since Dec. 22 in what’s the longest government shutdown in national history.

     A CBS News review of police documents revealed there were at least three incidents in 2017 where a gun was undetected by TSA officials at an airport and only discovered on the person’s trip home.

    “I feel like for how often a weapon gets through TSA they should know by now to take more precaution to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” said Yesenia Vizguerra (‘20).

     TSA administrator David Pekoske said, “It happens because the technology doesn’t get everything all the time… either there’s a technology issue, there’s a procedural issue. I’m troubled by that, too. I think that everybody in the TSA is troubled by it and mistakes happen…and I can’t give you an answer as to how often it happens. But when it does happen, we do everything we can to figure out why it happened.”