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Delta Air Lines Pilot Leaves A Handgun In The Cockpit Of A Jet

A Delta Air Lines pilot left a handgun in the cockpit of a jet after landing in Atlanta, where the weapon was found by an airline ground worker.

The incident occurred on Feb. 18, according to the Associated Press.

"Delta ground crews followed procedures and turned over to law enforcement an item that was found in the flight deck after the flight's arrival," a Delta spokeswoman said in a statement emailed to NPR. "Delta is working with relevant authorities in their handling of this case and will conduct its own review."

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The airline has not released the name of the pilot and will not comment on whether the pilot has been disciplined. The spokeswoman said those questions are internal personnel matters.

The handgun was issued to the pilot by the Transportation Security Administration, according to an agency spokesman.

"TSA is aware of an incident at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport involving agency-issued equipment," the spokesman said in a statement emailed to NPR. "Although we are not at liberty to discuss specific details, we can say that the public was never in harm's way. TSA takes all allegations of policy and procedure violations seriously and when substantiated, appropriate action is taken."

After the September 2001 terrorism attacks with the hijacking of four jet airliners, some pilots have been issued handguns and deputized after being trained and certified by TSA under the Federal Flight Deck Officer program.

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Richard Gonzales
Richard Gonzales is NPR's National Desk Correspondent based in San Francisco. Along with covering the daily news of region, Gonzales' reporting has included medical marijuana, gay marriage, drive-by shootings, Jerry Brown, Willie Brown, the U.S. Ninth Circuit, the California State Supreme Court and any other legal, political, or social development occurring in Northern California relevant to the rest of the country.