A passenger found the gun.
A U.S. air marshal had left the weapon in the bathroom by accident, where the passenger then found it and turned it over to a crew member. The air marshal in question, who is a new hire, failed to immediately report the incident to her supervisor and was back on another flight a few days later, according to the same report.
“You can’t have inept people leaving weapons in a lavatory,” Craig Sawyer, a former air marshal, told The New York Times. “If someone with ill intent gets hold of that weapon on an aircraft, they are now armed.”
The U.S. Air Marshal program, part of the TSA, welcomed some of its first new recruits since 2011 earlier this year. While the security program was created in the 1960s under president John F. Kennedy’s administration, officials reexamined and revamped the training for marshals following the 9/11 hijackings.
Marshals receive training on hand-to-hand combat, how to disarm a threat, and how to shoot accurately if the situation escalates.
“Expert marksmanship is a key requirement for air marshals, who are tested quarterly on their shooting skills,” noted a recent Washington Post report.