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ATLANTA - WSB-TV has confirmed that the Transportation Security Administration fired a screener who missed a loaded handgun in a passenger’s carry-on bag Sunday morning at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
According to an Atlanta police incident report, Katrina Jackson, of Hoover, Alabama, discovered the handgun as she checked her purse for her passport at the gate.
“There’s one thing if you’re missing something suspicious. This was a handgun, so this is a big deal that this got through the TSA screening process,” security expert Brent Brown said.
Jackson told police about the gun, and officers showed up at the gate to confiscate her gun and her bag.
Jackson told them that she had a permit to carry from Alabama but did not have it with her.
Police arrested her. She is charged with unlawful possession of a handgun.
“I mean, she violated the law, so we have consequences,” passenger Melissa Monroe said.
A TSA spokesperson sent the following statement: “This egregious mistake was unacceptable and the officer, who was still a probationary employee, was immediately and permanently separated from federal service.”
According to TSA, a screener’s probationary period lasts two years.
“We don’t know who else might have gotten through. This one person fortunately turned around and reported herself, but how many of these types of things get through all the time?” Brown said.
WSB-TV’s Aaron Diamant learned that TSA screeners detected 198 guns at Atlanta’s airport in 2016, more than any other U.S. airport.
Screeners have found 48 guns so far this year, including seven during the same week that the screener missed Jackson’s gun.
“This is a crazy world we live in, so, you know, things happen, and if it’s our time, it’s our time. But they’re doing a good job. I think they’re doing a good job,” passenger Tiffany Clinton said.
WSB-TV was unable to contact Jackson. The Clayton County solicitor general is handling her case.