Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

Concealed Carry Licensee Gets Ungracious Reception by Police in "Charm City"

Friday, January 17, 2014

As anybody who is a member of NRA knows, we support the dedicated men and women of law enforcement who put themselves in harm's way for the benefit of us all.  We understand that most law enforcement officers take their oaths to defend and uphold the Constitution of the United States seriously.  We also understand that untold thousands of reassuring interactions occur between citizens and law enforcement officers every day.

What we don't understand are reports like this one arising from an incident in Baltimore, Maryland.

The Tampa Bay Tribune recounts the disturbing story of a man who found himself on the receiving end of some aggressive and heavy-handed police tactics, apparently for nothing more than being under suspicion of owning a firearm. 

According to the article, John Filippidis, business owner and family man, was traveling in his 2012 Ford Expedition back to Florida from Woodridge, N.J, where the family had attended a wedding and celebrated Christmas with relatives.  With him were his wife and their three teenage children.  Filippidis, the article notes, has a Florida concealed carry license.  Nevertheless, it also states he had acquainted himself with the rules of interstate travel with firearms, understood the complications that can arise, and had decided to leave his gun at home in Florida.

That would seem to be enough to ensure a family vacation could proceed without unpleasant interactions over legally owned firearms, even in the increasingly hostile territory for gun owners that begins at the Maryland state line and proceeds north up the Atlantic Coast to Massachusetts.  Unfortunately for the Filippidis family, these precautions were not enough. 

The article continues to recount that on New Year's Eve, after the family passed through the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Maryland, they noticed an unmarked police car flanking them, pulling ahead of them, and finally falling in behind them.  This continued for over 10 minutes, although Filippidis said he was not speeding and other traffic was "whizzing past."  Eventually, the officer activated the emergency lights on the car and initiated a traffic stop.  Filippidis noted he was actually somewhat relieved at that point, as he would at least be able to get the interaction behind them.

Filippidis told the Tribune the officer asked for his license and registration, returned to his cruiser for about 10 minutes, and then, taking a position of cover between the two vehicles, ordered Filippidis out of his car and told him to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet. "You own a gun," the officer said to Filippidis.  "Where is it?"  Filippidis told him the gun was at home in his safe.  The officer told him not to move.

With Filippidis separated from the rest of his family, the officer then focused his interrogation on Filippidis's wife, asking her where the gun was.  She first told the officer that she did not know, but then, wanting to be helpful, suggested it could be in the glove box or console.  "I'm scared of it," she told the officer.  "I don't want anything to do with it."

According to article, the officer again confronted Filippidis, calling him a "liar" and insisting his family said he had the gun.  Filippidis continued to protest he didn't have it.  The officer summoned back-up and told Filippidis the matter could be resolved if he would just tell him where the gun was. 

Three marked police cars arrived on the scene.  Filippidis's wife and children were patted down by the officers.  The family members were separated and put into the back seats of the different police cars.  Their belongings--luggage, presents, laundry bags--were lined up on the shoulder of I-95 in view of passing motorists.  For perhaps two hours, the police combed Filippidis's vehicle.  No firearm was found.  Finally, they issued Filippidis a written "warning" and released him and his family to continue their journey.

Certain aspects of the incident are not clear from the Tribune's account.  The article does not specify for what alleged offense the warning was issued, nor on what asserted basis the traffic stop was initiated.  More to the point, it does not explain what led to the confrontation over Filippidis's gun, which was stowed in a safe at his Florida home, hundreds of miles from the scene.  The article indicates Filippidis received "apologies" from the captain of the officer who initiated the stop, as well as a captain in the department's internal affairs bureau.  It also indicates that the agency, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police (MTAP), is withholding comment pending its own investigation of the matter.

Florida's concealed carry law states: "The Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services shall maintain an automated listing of licenseholders and pertinent information, and such information shall be available online, upon request, at all times to all law enforcement agencies through the Florida Crime Information Center."  Maryland also has very strict laws governing the carrying or transportation of firearms, rarely issues concealed carry licenses under its discretionary "need-based" licensing regime, and does not recognize any out-of-state carry licenses.  It has also aggressively pursued gun control recently, resulting in a sweeping law that includes gun bans, licensing, and registration.  This, in turn, has sparked multiple lawsuits, some of which have already been settled (see ILA's January 2014 Legal Update for more information). 

How these factors may have interacted in this incident is unclear, but at the very least, the Tribune's report raises serious questions about how records indicating a person is a gun owner might lead to unwarranted suspicion and discrimination, even in the absence of wrongdoing.

As for John Filippidis, he remains shaken, humiliated, and unsure about whether he even wants to keep his concealed carry license. "I've never been in any kind of trouble," he told the Tribune.  "[The officer] 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?"

We're wondering that, too, and we will certainly be interested in any explanation that might arise from MTAP's investigation into the matter.

In the meantime, the Tribune's article appears to be a cautionary tale as to why gun owners should be highly suspect of "universal background checks" and other initiatives that promise to create records of their ownership or involvement with firearms, however innocent or legal.  As ideological and political attacks on Second Amendment rights continue, even great caution and compliance with the law will not necessarily spare gun owners grief for exercising their rights.

TRENDING NOW
Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

News  

Friday, September 7, 2018

Levi’s Teams with Billionaire Michael Bloomberg to Attack Gun Rights

Levi Strauss & Co. established its brand in the mid-19th century by selling durable clothing to working-class Americans. As Levi’s signature jeans gained popularity amongst a wider set in the middle of the last century, ...

Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Surprise: Physician Group Rehashes Same Tired Gun Control Policies

Everyone has hobbies. Some doctors’ collective hobby is opining on firearms policy. Half of the articles in the “Latest from Annals” email from the Annals of Internal Medicine journal are related to firearms. The most prominent of these ...

NRA Challenges Constitutional Violations in Initiative 1639

News  

Thursday, November 15, 2018

NRA Challenges Constitutional Violations in Initiative 1639

The NRA was joined by the Second Amendment Foundation in filing a lawsuit challenging gun control measures recently passed in Washington ballot initiative I-1639.

Missing the Marx: Gun Control’s Future is … Communism?

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Missing the Marx: Gun Control’s Future is … Communism?

After every high profile crime committed with a firearm of any sort, there are always calls for gun control. But one particular proposal this week managed to distinguish itself amid the usual din, if only ...

Midterm Elections Offer Motivation to Continue the Fight For Our Rights

News  

Friday, November 9, 2018

Midterm Elections Offer Motivation to Continue the Fight For Our Rights

The votes have all been cast in the 2018 midterm elections. And while the counting and recounting is still under way in some places, the overall picture that has emerged soundly refutes the breathless media narrative of ...

Former ATF Agent Pulls Mask Off Giffords’s Plans for Federal AR-15 Registration

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Former ATF Agent Pulls Mask Off Giffords’s Plans for Federal AR-15 Registration

In an odd turn, just before Halloween one prominent gun control group briefly got out of costume. When former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly launched Americans for Responsible Solutions (now named Giffords) in ...

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

Gun Laws  

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Guide To The Interstate Transportation Of Firearms

CAUTION: Federal and state firearms laws are subject to frequent change. This summary is not to be considered as legal advice or a restatement of law.

Videos Reveal Arizona’s Sinema and Florida’s Gillum Downplay Anti-gun Positions

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Videos Reveal Arizona’s Sinema and Florida’s Gillum Downplay Anti-gun Positions

In the last decade, gun control groups have tried to get more sophisticated with how they market their unpopular ideas. Some gun control advocates have gone so far as to partner with high-profile public relations firms to ...

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams Reiterates Support for Semi-automatic Ban

News  

Friday, November 2, 2018

Georgia Gubernatorial Candidate Stacey Abrams Reiterates Support for Semi-automatic Ban

During a recent segment on ABC’s The View, Stacey Abrams reiterated her support for a ban on commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms. During an interview with the candidate, host Meghan McCain, daughter of longtime U.S. Senator John McCain, ...

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

News  

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

President’s Column | Your Vote Outweighs Their Millions: Make Your Voice Heard Nov. 6

My fellow NRA members, we stand at the edge of the precipice of one of the most important elections of our lives. That is the reality we face, and we face it just days from ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -

More Like This From Around The NRA

NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.