Police have reported that a passenger’s gun fired at the airport security checkpoint on Sunday morning.
The flight passenger, Richard Popkin, was carrying a loaded .22-caliber Magnum revolver in his carry-on luggage when the gun went off while being x-rayed, TSA officers said.
TSA officers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport discovered the gun and tried to clear the five “snake” shot bullets, which is ammunition for small game, when the handgun accidentally went off.
No one was injured, according to the report from Hartsfield officials, but a responding officer indicated that the bullet scraped him.
“I was grazed by a pellet fragment on the left side of my face. However, there were no visible injuries,” said the incident report.
Popkin was traveling from his hometown of Kathleen, Ga. to San Francisco when the incident at the Atlanta airport occurred. He told officials that he did not know the gun was in his luggage.
Jonathan Allen, spokesperson for the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airport, issued a statement via email saying that the federal agency is investigating the incident and can “level a civil penalty,” according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Popkin was released on bond after his arrest but faces charges for carrying a weapon in an unauthorized place.
The event happened in the midst of heated criticism and complaints over airport security being too harsh.
Similarly in Detroit over the weekend, a 76-year-old man told police he “forgot” he was armed when he arrived at the airport, and was also arrested.
The man, who was not identified, was wearing a .38-caliber pistol in an ankle holster for personal protection while he tried to get through a security checkpoint at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County International Airport, reported ABC News.
The man was released after being arrested when a background check came back clean. The elderly man had a permit to carry the weapon, but because airports are considered a restricted area, he could still face several charges for having the loaded weapon.
The TSA reports that over 1,100 firearms have been discovered at airport checkpoints within this year alone.