“A year ago this New Year’s Eve, John Filippidis of Florida was driving south with his family on Interstate 95 when the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) Police pulled over his black Ford Expedition and proceeded to raid it while his twins, wife and daughter looked on — separated in the back seats of different police cruisers,” washingtontimes.com reminisces. “The officers were searching for Mr. Filippidis‘ Florida-licensed, palm-size Kel-Tec .38 semi-automatic handgun, which he left at home locked in his safe. (Maryland does not recognize handgun permits issued by other states.)” An event which raised all sorts of questions, the most obvious of which is . . .
How did the MTA know that Mr. Filipiddis had a gun? It’s unlikely that someone dropped the dime on the Floridian. So the police must have tapped into a database of Sunshine State concealed carry license holders. Or, worse, a federal database of gun owners. Which isn’t supposed to exist. On the other hand . . .
According to the blaze.com, the MTA cop allegedly said “You own a gun. Where is it?” That could have been a bluff. You know; like a customs agent asking a de-planing passenger “are you carrying any drugs?” Nowhere do I find an account which says the police knew the make and model of Mr. Fillipidis’ firearm. And then there’s . . .
Hanlon’s razor. “Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.” Although Mr. Fillipidis says he didn’t know his vehicle smelled like marijuana — the official reason the cops gave for searching his vehicle — maybe Mr. F was high and mentioned the gun. Then again, there’s this . . .
John Tonnesen IV of Lake Worth, Florida, was pulled over and arrested after a search of his work truck — by the same officer who stopped Mr. Filippidis — turned up his .45-caliber Ruger, licensed in the state of Florida. He doesn’t believe the stop was coincidental.
“It was unloaded and stuffed into a bag far from me,” Mr. Tonnesen told The Times. “There’s scanners in Maryland that scan every tag, and Florida is one of their target vehicles. They’ll find whatever reason they can to pull you over.”
Well, that’s two. Perhaps. Not exactly proof that “stories are accumulating” of a secret police program to [illegally] identify and arrest out-of-state gun owners.
Still, stranger things have happened. And the fact that all the cops will say about these incidents is that the searches were legal, raises a red flag. It could be that the police have been instructed to pull Florida tagged vehicles and search for guns – without knowing if they do or do not have a gat.
In any case, the article goes on to point out that Maryland’s newly elected Republican governor seems less than enthusiastic about championing gun rights, in these cases or in general. Who’d a guessed?