The passenger then fled the area with the gun and went out an airport exit, according to officials. Police are searching for the suspect.
TSA has raised an alarm about an increasing number of guns being discovered at airport screenings.
“Firearms, particularly loaded firearms, introduce an unnecessary risk at checkpoints,” said TSA Administrator David Pekoske.
Last month, the agency announced that a record number of firearms were uncovered at airport security checkpoints nationwide in the first nine months of 2021.
Passengers are not allowed to take guns through airport security checkpoints or onto planes. However, a 2014 Georgia law allows them in the pre-security area of the terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.
Hartsfield-Jackson had a record 391 firearms found at security checkpoints from January through Oct. 3, more than any other airport in the country. That’s up from 220 last year when passenger counts were down 60%, and up from 323 in all of 2019.
From January through early October, TSA had stopped 30 firearms per million passengers screened at Hartsfield-Jackson checkpoints. That’s more than twice the national rate of 11 firearms per million passengers screened in that period.