Published: Tue, January 15, 2019
Markets | By Otis Pena

Passenger with gun slips past security in Atlanta during shutdown

Passenger with gun slips past security in Atlanta during shutdown

The airport did not have enough Transportation Security Administration agents to staff the security checkpoint.

An unsuspecting traveller who forgot a gun was in their carry-on luggage was able to take the firearm on an global flight due to an airport security bungle, the US Transport Security Administration (TSA) has confirmed.

Hartsfield-Jackson, the busiest airport in the world, reported the long lines on its website Monday morning, showing the long waits at all three checkpoints in the domestic terminal.

Miami International Airport closed one of its concourses for half the day on Saturday.

The government shutdown, which was initiated after US lawmakers failed to provide US President Donald Trump with funding for his border wall, has been the longest in US history since entering its 22nd day.

Elsewhere, the TSA checkpoint at terminal B of Texas' George Bush Intercontinental Airport was closed for an undisclosed amount of time due to staffing shortages caused by the partial shutdown, which has left hundred of thousands of federal workers furloughed.

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Delta said the passenger on the January 2 flight reported the firearm and was cooperative, according to The Washington Post.

That number was an 18-point increase from the total recovered in all of 2017, when the Atlanta airport led the country with the most firearms discovered at 245, the department said. "So in fact, the national call out rate was higher a year ago than this year on that date".

Between December 10 and December 16, 2018, just prior to the start of the government shutdown, the TSA discovered 78 firearms in carry-on bags after screening more than 14.8 million passengers. He said he didn't know how many security lines were down.

Although the security breach occurred two weeks into the government shut down amid reports that TSA agents have been calling in sick while they are required to work without receiving pay, the agency says the incident was unrelated. He added that airport workers are frequently unable to make it to work during snowstorms.

"TSA, airport authorities and airlines will continue to work closely to ensure resources are optimized, efforts to consolidate operations are actively managed, and screening and security are never compromised", Kelly, the TSA spokesman, said via email. There are 51,000 airport security agents nationwide. Dulles' employee and West Mezzanine checkpoints will close on Monday - and all of those impacted will have to clear security at the airport's East Mezzanine, according to TSA Assistant Administrator Michael Bilello.

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