Flyer claims he accidentally got a loaded handgun past TSA in Atlanta and is now using his story as a warning.
A retired truck driver flying through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is warning American flyers their experience may not be secure, after he was able to pass a loaded handgun through a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint. Speaking to Britain’s Daily Mail, the flyer says while packing his gun was purely accidental, he feels the TSA should have caught it prior to departure.
The incident happened on November 5, as 67-year-old Blake Alford was preparing to fly from ATL to Chicago Midway Airport (MDW). In his bag was a Ruger .38 pistol, loaded with a full magazine of seven hollow-point bullets. The weapon was in Alford’s carry-on luggage by mistake. However, when it went through the TSA checkpoint, Alford says it was undetected.
Alford only discovered the gun after arriving in Chicago, after unpacking.
“How could the TSA not have spotted it?” Alford asked in his interview with the Daily Mail. “Especially as it was just a few days after the Russian plane blew up.”
The claims are raised as airport security is said to be going under tighter watch. Less than one week after the Metrojet incident in Egypt, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced tighter security protocols for select flights, which included “expanded screening” and an overall assessment of foreign security measures.
However, ATL has also been plagued with gun issues throughout the last year. In 2014, a baggage handler was arrested and accused of using his credentials to pass guns through the airport and into the secure area. Earlier this year, a man dropping his daughter off at the airport was spotted openly carrying an assault rifle outside of the secure are, which caused alarm at the airport.
A spokesperson for the TSA told the Daily Mail the agency would review the situation and investigate the breakdown. “When our employees fail to meet standards, we hold them appropriately accountable,” TSA spokesperson Mike England told the British newspaper.
[Photo: Daily Mail/Robin Rayne Nelson]