Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents in Atlanta totally a missed a firearm in the carry-on bag of a Delta passenger, who ended up transporting the weapon to Japan.
The unidentified passenger did not deliberately sneak the firearm onboard. He discovered it in-flight, on Delta 295 from Atlanta (ATL) to Tokyo Narita (NRT) on January 3rd, and immediately reported it to flight attendants. The aircraft was met by authorities in Tokyo and the passenger surrendered his weapon. No charges were filed.
TSA: No Excuse For Error; Don’t Blame Government Shutdown
In a statement, TSA did not blame the federal government shutdown for the error:
TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on the morning of January 3.
The perception that this might have occurred as a result of the partial government shutdown would be false. The national unscheduled absence rate of TSA staff on Thursday, January 3, 2019, was 4.8% compared to 6.3% last year, Thursday, January 4, 2018. So in fact, the national call out rate was higher a year ago than this year on that date.
That’s an interesting stat…and I appreciate that the TSA did not try to put blame on the shutdown for this glaring error.
Of course the facts speak for themselves. TSA has repeatedly missed guns and other weapons over the years. It still stops, however, about 4,000 guns per year.
Let’s be thankful that this was a harmless passenger who accidentally brought his gun along and promptly surrendered it. But at the same time, isn’t it sobering how many mistakes the TSA makes? Calling the organization our “last line of defense” is simply a joke.