It is legal to check a firearm when you fly, provided that you follow a few simple guidelines. You must keep it unloaded in a locked container, and declare it to airline personnel so that they can ensure that it's stored in the belly of the plane. However, a Rhode Island man - who has not yet been identified by law enforcement - wanted to fly through JFK airport on Friday with a different plan: he disassembled his gun, left the bullets in the magazine, and stuffed all the parts in two jars of peanut butter.
Needless to say, his plan was not only unconventional, it was illegal, and the man ended up getting arrested for his troubles.
TSA agents told CNN that the man's luggage triggered an alarm, which led them to search it, whereupon they found the two containers of Jif and opened them up. TSA agents then notified Port Authority police, who tracked the man down in the terminal and arrested him. The man now faces a potential $15,000 fine for his scheme.
"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. Our officers are good at their jobs and are focused on their mission—especially during the busy holiday travel period," said John Essig, TSA’s Federal Security Director for JFK Airport. He also added that the gun parts were wrapped in plastic before being stuffed into the peanut butter jars.
The TSA said in a statement released on December 16th that they have confiscated a record number of firearms that travelers have improperly attempted to transport this year. They also added that 88% of the guns confiscated were loaded.