The Transportation Security Administration said on Saturday it is investigating a report that a gun made its way through airport security in Atlanta without being detected.
Traveler Blake Alford told the Daily Mail that after arriving in Chicago on a Southwest Airlines flight from Atlanta, he discovered he had a loaded semi-automatic handgun in his backpack. The incident happened Nov. 5, the report said.
The TSA said in a statement that it is investigating the matter “to determine what occurred and what steps, if any, need to be taken to ensure that security protocols are executed appropriately.”
“If we find that standard procedures were not adhered to, we will retrain employees as necessary to ensure compliance with standard operating procedures. When our employees fail to meet standards, we hold them appropriately accountable,” the agency said.
Southwest Airlines said in a written statement that it will “work alongside appropriate authorities” as the customer claim is investigated.
The agency has been criticized for failures to detect mock explosives and weapons during tests, and in response has been retraining airport screeners in Atlanta and at other airports around the country.
But additional misses would indicate problems remain, and concerns about security and terrorism are high in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris Friday night.
The TSA said it is “rigorous in its screening of passengers and their luggage” and that airport security involves “multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen, to protect the traveling public.” The agency said it had discovered 2,447 firearms in carry-on bags at checkpoints across the nation in the first 10 months of 2015.
Amid heightened security concerns about airport workers’ access to planes in the wake of the crash of a Russian airliner shortly after takeoff from Sharm el-Sheikh, Hartsfield-Jackson officials have said they “remain vigilant.”
The airport recently began screening some workers at a new employee checkpoint, in response to a gun-running scheme involving a Delta employee discovered last year. It is also seeking additional funding to hire retired Atlanta police officers to enhance security.
Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, along with airport, FBI and Atlanta police officials, planned to hold a security briefing at the airport Monday morning to detail security measures in place.