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Maryland Cop Detains Unarmed Florida Gun Owner and Family for Legally Owning a Gun

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Just when you thought Maryland couldn’t be any more hostile toward Second Amendment rights…

John Filippidas, a Florida resident passing through Maryland during a holiday trip, was stopped and harassed by a Maryland police officer for simply owning a gun which Filippidas had left in a safe back home in Florida. The Tampa Tribune reports:

“I know the laws and I know the rules,” Filippidis says. There are, after all, ways gun owners can travel legally with firearms through hostile states. “But I just think it’s a better idea to leave it home.”

So there the Filippidises were on New Year’s Eve eve, southbound on Interstate 95 — John; wife Kally (his Gulf High sweetheart); the 17-year-old twins Nasia and Yianni; and 13-year-old Gina in their 2012 Ford Expedition — just barely out of the Fort McHenry Tunnel into Maryland, blissfully unarmed and minding their own business when they noticed they were being bird-dogged by an unmarked patrol car. It flanked them a while, then pulled ahead of them, then fell in behind them.

“Ten minutes he’s behind us,” John says. “We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past.”

“You know you have a police car behind you, you don’t speed, right?” Kally adds.

Says John, “We keep wondering, is he going to do something?”

Finally the patrol car’s emergency lights come on, and it’s almost a relief. Whatever was going on, they’d be able to get it over with now. The officer — from the Transportation Authority Police, as it turns out, Maryland’s version of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority — strolls up, does the license and registration bit, and returns to his car.

According to Kally and John (but not MTAP, which, pending investigation, could not comment), what happened next went like this:

Ten minutes later he’s back, and he wants John out of the Expedition. Retreating to the space between the SUV and the unmarked car, the officer orders John to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet. “You own a gun,” the officer says. “Where is it?”

“At home in my safe,” John answers.

“Don’t move,” says the officer.

Now he’s at the passenger’s window. “Your husband owns a gun,” he says. “Where is it?”

First Kally says, “I don’t know.” Retelling it later she says, “And that’s all I should have said.” Instead, attempting to be helpful, she added, “Maybe in the glove box. Maybe in the console. I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it. I might shoot right through my foot.”

The officer came back to John. “You’re a liar. You’re lying to me. Your family says you have it. Where is the gun? Tell me where it is and we can resolve this right now.”

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The Filippidas family was stopped without cause, detained for nearly two hours while the officer searched their belongings for a gun that John Filippidas legally owned, was licensed to carry, and which was in a safe back in Florida. If the Tribune article accurately describes the incident, the officer engaging in these Gestapo-like tactics deserves to be fired. This is inexcusable behavior.

“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal,” John says. “I’ve never been to prison, never declared bankruptcy, I pay my taxes, support my 20 employees’ families; I’ve never been in any kind of trouble.”

Face red, eyes shining, John pounds his knees. “And he wants to put me in jail. He wants to put me in jail. For no reason. He wants to take my wife and children away and put me in jail. In America, how does such a thing happen? … And after all that, he didn’t even write me a ticket.”

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