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Jan 14, 2010 7:07 PM

Man gets by security with loaded gun at MT airport

BOZEMAN, MT - Transportation Security Administration officials have issued a statement about an airport security breach at Gallatin Field Airport last month when a loaded weapon made it past airport security in a carry-on bag.

On Dec. 17, 2009 Montana's News Station reported the story, now, almost a month later the TSA has issued a statement about the incident.

"On December 13, 2009 a passenger self-disclosed possession of a firearm after passing through the security checkpoint at Gallatin Field Airport. The prohibited item was turned over to local law enforcement and the passenger was allowed to continue on the flight," TSA spokesman Dwayne Baird said in a brief statement emailed to the news station.

At the time the story aired in December, Baird commented on the matter, saying the passenger turned himself in to TSA officials after he realized he had the gun.

"Approximately 7 o'clock Sunday morning, our TSA security people were notified by a passenger who had gone through the security screening at the checkpoint who was in the sterile area and had refused to the security checkpoint, because he had a handgun with him and didn't realize he had taken it with him," Baird said at the time.

More than three planes and 100 passengers were impacted in the incident, Gallatin Field Airport Director Brian Sprenger said in an earlier interview.

The situation could have been worse if it were closer to the Christmas holiday, Sprenger said at the time, adding it is important to make sure this does not happen again.

"We were fortunate it was the before Christmas rush so that limited the impact on passengers. We don't like to see anything like that happen, and you know we will be working with the TSA to ensure that they have their procedures in place so that it doesn't happen," Sprenger said.

At the time the story aired in December, the TSA was still investigating the incident and had not released any information on the possible cause of the breach.

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