Atlanta, GA — A passenger flying out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta brought a loaded gun through security and boarded a plane without anyone stopping him.
Blake Alford, a retired truck driver from Clayton County, told CBS46 he wasn’t trying to test security or make a name for himself when he brought a backpack containing a gun to the airport. He said it was just an honest mistake on his part.
Despite putting his bag through an X-ray machine at the security checkpoint, Alford said he made it to Chicago before he noticed a gun was in his carry-on.
He made sure to unload the semi-automatic pistol and put it in a checked bag for the return trip. Once he was back in Atlanta, Alford came forward to explain what happened.
Alford said this happened on a Southwest Airlines flight he took on November 5.
Knowing that terrorists are still active across the globe, Alford said he owed it to air travelers everywhere to describe his experience and encourage the TSA to tighten up.
“People need to know TSA needs to tighten up,” said Alford. “If they’ll take toothpaste. They’ll make people get out of wheelchairs. They’ll make me take off my belt buckle and my shoes. How did my gun go through?”
A TSA spokesperson released the following statement in response to the incident:
“TSA is rigorous in its screening of passengers and their luggage. We are investigating this 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. TSA employs a robust security system involving multiple layers of security, both seen and unseen, to protect the traveling public, including a well-trained frontline workforce, state-of-the-art technologies, intelligence analysis and information sharing, and explosives detection.”
According to the TSA, agents at security checkpoints have discovered 2,447 firearms in carry-on bags so far in 2015.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will be at Hartsfield Airport for an update on security Monday. The briefing is expected to take place at 10:30 a.m.