Next Time Try Chunky: TSA Finds Disassembled Gun in Jars of Jif Smooth Peanut Butter

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gun in peanut butter tsa
Courtesy TSA

It was a sticky situation in a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checked baggage screening room at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK) yesterday, Dec. 22, when a TSA officer removed two jars of peanut butter, each containing parts of a disassembled semi-automatic handgun artfully concealed inside.

The .22 caliber gun parts were wrapped in plastic and had been jammed into the middle of two plastic jars of peanut butter. The gun’s magazine was loaded with bullets.

When the checked bag triggered an alarm in a Terminal 8 X-ray unit, a TSA officer opened the bag and upon closer inspection uncovered the concealed firearm parts. TSA officials notified the Port Authority Police, who came to the checked baggage room in JFK’s Terminal 8, confiscated the items, tracked down the traveler in the terminal and arrested him.

“The gun parts were artfully concealed in two smooth creamy jars of peanut butter, but there was certainly nothing smooth about the way the man went about trying to smuggle his gun,” said John Essig, TSA’s Federal Security Director for JFK Airport. “Our officers are good at their jobs and are focused on their mission—especially during the busy holiday travel period,” Essig said.

— TSA Press Release in Rhode Island Man Arrested after TSA Detects Disassembled Gun Concealed in Two Peanut Butter Jars at JFK Airport

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  1. The article says that the gun was found in a checked bag.
    So is the traveler in trouble for the gun not being declared or for being immersed in peanut butter?

    • “So is the traveler in trouble for the gun not being declared or for being immersed in peanut butter?”

      Not being declared…

      • So had this guy declared the handgun in his checked baggage there would have been no issue? Or was he a felon prohibited from owning or something like that? Did he think the peanut butter was going to block x-ray?
        At least by dismantling it there was no chance of discharge say when they throw the bags around and contents jostled.
        Once I asked an airline guy why they jammed my scuba tank valve open forcing me to pay for an inspection as opposed to lowering pressure to say 500 psi. He said that in the case of a crash and fire they didn’t want it to explode. I didn’t bother asking him if he knew these aluminum tanks go soft in fires and puff up and pop and at that point who gives a darn, and that it was not an “oxygen” tank it was compressed air.

        • “So had this guy declared the handgun in his checked baggage there would have been no issue?”

          If he wasn’t a felon, probably would be my guess.

          “Or was he a felon prohibited from owning or something like that?”

          We don’t know that. Sounds like a good guess, though.

          “Did he think the peanut butter was going to block x-ray?”

          Maybe, ask him, perchance? You can’t hide metal from an X-ray with peanut butter.

          (And you can’t hide drugs in coffee from a sniffer dog, I’ve heard…)

      • not to mention ammo in prepped mags and in the same container as the gun. No no naughty naughty mustn’t do.

        Dummie could have taken the trouble to find a hard sided case with a lock or piece of chain and padlock, and a second similar for the ammo, popped it into his suitcase and declared it as he checked in.

        It would be amusing to read this guy’s explanation……

    • In the USA, you can put unloaded Glocks in your checked luggage.

      But JFK isn’t in the USA, it’s in NY.
      He probably tried to hide it because it’s not registered in NY.

      • but TSA would not pop him for breaking NY’s stupid laws. Not their bailiwick so why should they care? Or act….

        • “but TSA would not pop him for breaking NY’s stupid laws.”

          TSA, no. But if TSA turned him over to local law enforcement (NYPD), then NYPD likely made the arrest.

          (It seems to me.)

  2. Why bother with this when you can just declare it and fly with it? Felon? Flying to a slave state? This is the problem with generic reporters, they are too ignorant to ask the right questions.

    • “Why bother with this when you can just declare it and fly with it? Felon?”

      That makes no sense to me, either. When you check a bag in, does the TSA run a BGC on the flyer, to see if they are legal to travel with one?

      Was there an issue with suitcases stuffed full of guns being flown into LaGuardia, for example?

      • Geoff:
        1. It has to be in your CHECKED baggage.
        2. You have to declare it to the airline ticket agent who checks the baggage.
        3. It also has to be in an approved locked container for which the traveler has the only key.
        4. You must open the baggage and show the airline ticket agent the locked container, after which the agent will attach a label to the container for each firearm declared.
        5. Long guns can be in a separate case that is locked.

    • Oh, not flying in to a slave state, trying to get the hell out of one! Write off your unconstitutionally banned gat and give it the Hunter Biden treatment (pitch it in a bin). The point is to escape with as much of your wealth as possible and never look back!

    • Concealing contraband items in a jar of peanut butter is a prison trick.

      So, I’m going with felon.

  3. I think you would also need an impossibly hard to get carry permit valid in NYC to transport at JFK, but I could be wrong.

      • Say your flight was diverted to JFK because Boston Logan was socked in, for example.

        What do you do? Declare it, go to TSA jail? Leave airport property and risk UPS’ing to yourself at home?

        How can you ‘Escape From New York’ with a gun, if you aren’t Snake Plissken?

        • There have been several cases in NJ over the years where a flight between states where a gun is legal has been diverted to land in NJ due to weather or mechanical issues. The passengers have had to change planes, and been given their checked baggage to take to the new flight. Prior to giving the passengers their baggage the NJSP have been notified and as soon as the person with the checked gun takes their bag they are arrested. I wouldn’t be surprised if NY, and MD would do the same.

        • All far too true.. BUT in this case, if I red the report correctly, the guy had already made it from wherever to the ticket counter at the NYC airport outbound with no issues. Had he been inbiund and handgun properly declared inbound from elsewhere now within NYC’s talons, yes, he’d likely have been busted doing all the right things. But he was outbound. Different story.

        • Declare it, do not take possession of it, insist that the airline send your luggage to the correct state

          Alternatively, hope that you can make an argument that you were traveling without any unnecessary stops to the correct state and depend on FOPA (I wouldn’t)

  4. He should have packed the parts in Skippy – TSA guys woulda thought ” Oh, guess we don’t scan these “

  5. First off. he should have used “Peter Pan” then he could “fly” with no problem to the mythical island of Neverland as the leader of the Lost Boys…..

  6. I came once to being busted. Wheeled into airport with a couple riffles in the trunk. Girlfiend said for sure theyd check trunk, covered up the gunms with a bunch of the kids baseball shit. ,,,,wow times change, before that awas in 84.
    I want to invent a low density plastic gunm that shutes plastic bullets that shaped like a pop tart. Not that I wanna take over an F16 or anything, but itd still be neat to take your .9mm pistol through customs.

    • Possum, would you be so kind and generous as to share with the rest of us just what it is you are smoking/drinking/inhaling/otherwise ingesting? If its legal maybe some of us could bring a profit distributing it.

  7. I am just trying to go through the thought process:

    Airlines do not inspect checked bags?
    X-rays do not penetrate peanut butter?
    If a gun is immersed in peanut butter the TSA will not consider it to be a weapon?
    Researching the rules on how to travel with a firearm is too much work?
    I wonder how peanut butter will taste after using it to baste bullets?

    • @ LifeSavor, I’m thinking any TSA agent worth his salt would automatically go “hummm food for thought”, and think two large jars of penult butter????, better check out this one creamy and one nutty situation!

  8. “Our officers are good at their jobs and are focused on their mission—especially during the busy holiday travel period,”

    So good and focused they misidentified the gun in their “look at us look at us look at us’ press release – its a Taurus TCP in 380ACP and not a .22.

    Really, have you seen some of these TSA people? Large people some of them are … they probably spotted the jars of peanut butter and thought “hmmm…. snack time!”

  9. A terrorist plot gone wrong.
    The pilots were to be forced to est both jars and then announce their takeoff.

  10. Well, I guess that’s ONE way to lubricate your gun, innit? Must be a b***h to clean it up afterwards, though.

    • Yeah Lamp, but think of that “fried Peanut butta” smell after a hundert rounds! mmmmmmmmmmmm dat rich rich creamy nutta butta scent. make doe’s ex-hamburga-flippa’s reminisce about their last job before becomin’ a puffed-up TSA Pro-fessional .

      ‘Ey,You want fries w/ dat?

      Happy New year People (I mean dat)

  11. This guy could be screwed a couple of ways. First, not declaring the gun and having it properly stored for shipping; second, if he doesn’t have a NY pistol permit.

    Then, there’s the matter of if he/she is a prohibited person.

    • Even IF prohibited, he could have carried this off had he packed and checked per TSA regs. I always fly with mine, and never had them run a “make” on me to see if I was “allowed’ to possess by firearms. They have always been so focussed on the “important thing to do” of making certain the prep and packaging is per their crazy specs they’ve never run any check beyond the reason for the inspection.
      One really dumb critter kept running swabs which were put into the magic sniffer machine and kept turning out the code for “explosive residue”.Well, DUHHHHHhhhh whaddya think makes the boolits go flying but EXPLOSIVES?

  12. it’s good that the magazines were loaded with bullets. Imagine the carnage that could have occurred if they were loaded with cartridges and TSA missed it.

  13. Oh man, I completely forgot I stuffed that gun into two jars of peanut butter on my last range trip.

  14. Geoff,
    You reminded me of a talk I had with a drug dog wrangler. His dog identified an aluminum canister that had drugs in it. It was machined aluminum with threads then was MIG Welded shut and washed in Draino.
    Later they figured out and proved that the last person to touch it had opened the door via door knob which had residue. So if a person has drug trace on hands he spreads it everywhere like toilet and light switches then anyone innocent or not who touches those then touches anything that is dog checked will hit. This is why there are many false positives and why everyone needs to be patient when the airport dogs hit in your stuff.
    Once at airport I stood back and dog was running along the tops of suitcases, sat down, I asked “you take precautions against lethal fumes?”, the guy laughed and took the bag away. Later I found out he was a prohibited food dog, not drug dog.

  15. “Next Time Try Chunky:”……. No actual personal experience here, but one would think “gun parts” in peanut butter would unavoidably BE CHUNKY style.

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