Man Arrested at LAX With 16 Guns and 1000 Rounds of Ammunition

themePhillip 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.

For the full story, click here.

36 thoughts on “Man Arrested at LAX With 16 Guns and 1000 Rounds of Ammunition”

  1. David:

    I have always felt the NRA was just the demagogue appendage of the The Sporting Arms and Ammunition Manufacturers’ Institute (SAAMI). Thank for proving the point with your web site. I read with interest their latest initiative to block a bill requiring serial numbers on all ammunition in California. That truly is creeping socialism to have a method to determine where felons buy their ammo. Everyone needs a fully loaded AR-15 in their closet with untraceable ammo. Yeehaw!



  3. Bell,

    If you’re going to second guess JT’s wording it might help if you has more than a passing acquaintance with the English Language. For instance according to Mr. Webster ‘At’ can mean “In, on, near.”

  4. David,

    Thanks again for your prompt reply. I am very interested in the outcome of this situation.

    Please keep us apprised because this is a fast moving blawg and topics quickly move down-thread.

    Provisionally, I think this case should go to court to resolve some very important legal questions.

  5. Loaded magazines are fine, just as long as they are not in the firearm. Handguns must be transported in a locked container (trunk is a locked container) and the ammunition must not be attached to the firearm. Non-AW long guns can be legally transported in plain sight, such as on the seat as long as they are unloaded. It appears in this case the accused took great care to transport his firearms – both in containers and locked under the tonneau cover of his pickup.

  6. David,

    Thank you for that background information.

    What is the law regarding carrying other long guns and handguns within your vehicle? My request hinges on the legality of the other firearms in the locked box.

  7. Back in 2000 when CA enacted their own “Assault Weapon” ban they opened up a 90 day registration period. Basically any centerfire rifle with a detachable magazine that also has either a collapsible stock, pistol grip, vertical forward grip, or flash-hider is deemed an AW. If you registered it then you can legally transport it, in a locked container, but only to and from the range, to the airport for a trip, between homes, etc… – you can’t just drive around with it in your car. Now it remains to be seen if case law is going to allow a small side trip such as getting gas, getting something to eat, or picking up your buddy at the airport. This may be the only violation they have on this guy and it may be dismissed if he agrees to give up his weapons – it will most likely cost him much less to just replace the weapons than to hire a lawyer to get out of this.

    Today, people can still legally acquire AR-15 type rifles or other similar “Assault Weapons” in California but it requires the use of special magazine locks that require the use of a tool to remove the magazine. We are also restricted to a 10 round magazine capacity. It’s such a shame that we don’t even feel like we are part of the same country as the other states that are now enjoying the sunset of the 94 AW ban. I feel many of the laws here are unconstitutional and many of us are working to try to overturn them but it is a major uphill battle – we need all the help and support we can get from the NRA and other freedom loving citizens.

  8. “The airport authorities consider the road to be part of the facility — hence their claim for the roadblock.”

    However, do they own the property?

  9. David,

    I accessed your website ‘RifleGear’ by clicking on your screen name. I am a NRA member and a strong proponent of the 2nd Amendment gun rights.

    Please take the time to explain the California gun laws involving vehicle transport and more about ownership of legal assault weapons in California.


  10. The airport authorities consider the road to be part of the facility — hence their claim for the roadblock.

  11. Of course California allows “legal” transport of firearms. This is clearly a violation of the mans rights and is sensationalized by the quantity of guns. It would have been perfectly legal for the man to carry those weapons into the airport terminal, in locked cases, and check them on a plane. How do these cops think people transport their guns for hunting trips or shooting competitions!?

    If he does have an actual registered “Assault Weapon” then that could be his only violation – you can only transport those to and from the range. I guess his side-trip to pick up his buddy is going to be their excuse to steal his guns. Some LA police officers are going to be very happy with their new guns…

  12. Turley, did you notice your headline says he was arrested at LAX with 16 guns then you report he was outside the airport.

    Playing with headlines again I see.

  13. Bobfrog or Bob, ESq.,
    How far from the actual terminal do you need to be before they can search legally? Can they search me if I am on a road that can lead into the airport? My point is where do they draw the line on this type of invasion of privacy?

  14. This is a tough one.

    If California says the guns & ammo were legally being transported, especially if it’s confirmed that defendant was headed towards a shooting range, then the only issue remaining is whether driving through an international airport with the guns and ammo constitutes a separate federal offense.

  15. Does the State of California allow weapons to be transported in locked trunks or compartments? I have a problem with most of the searches in and at the airport. The shoe one is the most ridiculous one. When will people realize that most of the so-called security searches are simply ways to make us feel afraid? I want to know what kind of security do the vendors go through in the airport shops and restaurants. To me that is where the danger lies, if anywhere.

  16. It is LA, what do you expect? LA has zero respect for the 2nd Amendment.

    Say, Turley, did you notice your headline says he was arrested at LAX with 16 guns then you report he was outside the airport.

    Playing with headlines again I see.

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