I’m old enough to remember when California was having a real problem with fruit flies back in the day. Fruit checkpoints became a thing around then as I recall. The idea was that these fruit stops would prevent the problem.
Of course, I’m approaching 50 and my memory has never been classified as particularly great.
But the fruit stops continue to exist to this very day. Now, however, one op-ed writer wants to use them for another purpose. He seems to think that these stops can be used to stop the supposed flow of so-called high-capacity magazines into the state.
[The killer’s] weapon cannot now be sold legally in California, but authorities reported he bought it in 1999, before expanded handgun magazines were outlawed here. No one knows when it entered the state.
But the arrival and later misuse of many similar weapons in California very possibly could be prevented if state lawmakers cared enough. Most such guns enter the state in cars, trucks or RVs. It’s almost impossible for them to come here by air, as virtually all types of firearms are quickly detected by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) wherever commercial planes take off.
They could enter by train, but that is at least deterred by Amtrak’s random baggage inspections, even if they’re not as frequent and obtrusive as screening of airline passengers.
Gov. Gavin Newsom was clearly correct when he lamented that no matter how strong California gun laws become, they can be thwarted by folks who visit other states to buy weapons not available here.
But there’s already that network of examining stations where vehicles could be inspected and illegal guns very possibly found and neutralized.
So far, no one in power has thought to use the agricultural protection stations unique to California entry points for seeking out illegal weaponry. Rather, they exclusively examine fruits and vegetables before any are allowed into the state. Some vehicles are searched more thoroughly than others, but not for weapons. Without much controversy, inspectors look for weevils and other bugs that can decimate forests and fields.
The purpose of these fruit stops is, as the author mentioned, to look for bugs that may cause major agricultural damage to the state’s crops and forests. However, those who bring such things into the state generally aren’t trying to do so.
And that’s probably a good thing because it means these checkpoints have a shot at actually working.
As the author notes, these stops exist at major entry points heading into California. What he doesn’t note is that there are a plethora of other ways into the state that aren’t checked at all.
For fruit, this isn’t a huge deal. Major points of entry are major points of entry for a reason. They’re convenient and faster, so people tend to take them. Since those with infected fruit are generally carrying them unknowingly, this works.
Those carrying “high-capacity magazines” won’t go that route. They’ll simply avoid these major points of entry and just circumvent them.
Further, let’s also remember that magazines can be sent via mail. USPS, FedEx, and UPS could easily be bringing such magazines into the state unknowingly. After all, it’s not like there are magazine-sniffing dogs that detect the distinct smell of plastic or anything.
In short, this is nothing more than a major intrusion into people’s lives, those trying to enter the state, that will yield nothing in return.
And, frankly, considering how many people are fleeing the state as it is, you’d think they’d want to make it as easy as possible for people to enter it.