Airline Passenger Admits He Carried Firearm on Flight From Atlanta to Tokyo Two Weeks Into Government Shutdown

A man was able to carry a gun through security at a Georgia airport and take it aboard his flight to Japan, it was revealed.

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) confirmed that the passenger took his firearm through the checkpoint at Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport on January 2 before boarding Delta flight DL295 to Tokyo Narita International Airport.

Read more: Most Americans blame Donald Trump, GOP for record-long shutdown, polls say

After the passenger told airline workers what had happened, Delta Airlines informed TSA about the incident.

"TSA has determined standard procedures were not followed and a passenger did in fact pass through a standard screening TSA checkpoint with a firearm at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport on January 2," the agency said in a statement, reported WSB-TV. "TSA will hold those responsible appropriately accountable."

The security breach occurred around a week and a half into the current government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, over President Donald Trump's demands for additional funding for his border wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The shutdown has resulted in thousands of TSA agents working without pay, with CNN previously reporting that hundreds of TSA workers called in sick at four major airports during this period.

However, TSA denied that the government shutdown was to blame for the security breach at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

"The perception that this might have occurred as a result of the partial government shutdown would be false," TSA said in a statement. "The national unscheduled absence rate of TSA staff on Thursday, January 3, 2019, was 4.8 percent compared to 6.3 percent last year, Thursday, January 4, 2018. So in fact, the national call-out rate was higher a year ago than this year on that date."

Michael Bilello, TSA assistant administrator for public affairs, said that TSA experienced a national rate of 7.7 percent unscheduled absences, compared to a 3.2 percent rate the previous year.

"Most importantly, security standards remain uncompromised at our nation's airports," Bilello tweeted on January 13.

Between December 10 and December 16, 2018, just prior to the start of the government shutdown, the TSA discovered 78 firearms in carry-on bags after screening more than 14.8 million passengers. Of the 78 firearms discovered, 63 were loaded and 28 had a round chambered, the agency said in a statement.

"In most cases, the traveler forgets that the item is in their bag," said a TSA spokesperson. "Unfortunately, this happens far too often. Our goal in sharing these finds is to remind travelers to check their bags and the rules before heading to the airport."

TSA check
TSA officers at St. Louis Lambert International Airport in St. Louis, Missouri, October 10, 2016. The agency confirmed that a man was able to take a gun aboard his flight from Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to Tokyo in early January 2019. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images
Airline Passenger Admits He Carried Firearm on Flight From Atlanta to Tokyo Two Weeks Into Government Shutdown | U.S.