Phillip Dominguez describes himself as “a law-abiding, taxpaying gun enthusiast.” That should be with an emphasis on “enthusiast.” Dominguez is facing charges are a search of his car uncovered 16 guns and 1000 rounds of ammunition.
Dominguez insists that he was just picking up a friend and planned to go to a shooting range. He was arrested on suspicion of felony transportation of an assault rifle.
In fairness to Dominguez, he did not try to enter the airport itself but pulled on to the airport ring road and was flagged over. The weapons were locked away in the back of the truck. He has picked up people at the airport before and never saw a checkpoint. He also says that the assault rifle is legal. Nevertheless, he was arrested and both his guns and his truck were confiscated.
I find it a bit problematic to have such checkpoints thrown up on surrounding roads and searching of interior compartments of anyone picking up people. It would be an easy matter to hide explosives in a truck to avoid such cursory examinations. Indeed, I have often found perfunctory searches at military installations and private business a bit of a joke with security. Just the other day, I watched security check every car at a Broadway play by opening and shutting the trunk of cars in New York without seeing looking inside. This search was obviously more substantive, but most cities do not see the need for such checkpoints of passing cars.
These can be difficult cases due to the obvious need to protect high security areas like airports. The courts would likely uphold a checkpoint outside an airport but there is a legitimate question of notice. If Dominguez did legally have such material in his truck, it is pretty abusive to not only arrest him but seize his truck. The LAX website on security does not mention searches outside of the airport building, here.
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