Maryland Mishap: Gun Ownership Enough to Attract Police Harassment?

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Before we look at a disturbing story being reported by the Tampa Tribune, I want to point out my deep respect for the men and women of law enforcement. The good guys in blue far outnumber the bad, and it pains me when a bad apple spoils the whole bunch in the eyes of public perception. That said, a recent traffic stop in Baltimore raises some interesting questions about the future of gun ownership in the U.S. of A.

On January 12, the Tribune  ran a column exploring the story of John Filippidis, a Tampa resident who had recently taken a family trip up the Atlantic coast. Licensed to carry in Florida, Filippidis anticipated the problems that could accompany interstate firearms travel and chose to leave his Kel-Tec .380 at home. Instead of being rewarded for his prudence with a hassle-free vacation, Filippidis found himself being pulled over on I-95 just as he passed through the Fort McHenry tunnel in Maryland.

After obtaining Filippidis’s license and registration, the detaining officer went back to his cruiser for some investigation. Finding that Filippidis was a registered gun owner, he ordered him out of the car and into spread-position. “You own a gun,” the officer noted. “Where is it?” Filippidis told the officer his gun was locked away safely at home, but this wasn’t the answer the officer was looking for. He asked the same question of his wife, who was unable to provide him with a better one.

Apparently not one to leave well enough alone, the officer called for backup and the Transportation Authority Police spent the next couple of hours searching through the family’s vehicle with a fine-tooth comb while the vacationing family whiled away the time – separately –  in the back of several cop cars. The fiasco came to an end when no firearms were found, and Filippidis was handed a warning for speeding. Filippidis denied the allegation.

We have only the Tribune’s report and the word of John Filippidis to go on, but whether or not this is the full truth of the story, it’s clear the time has come for some serious reflection on the stigma of gun ownership. No one can blame police officers for being mindful of the dangers they face, but is a concealed license permit cause for harassment and suspicion in today’s climate? If the facts in this case are accurate, it would appear so.

Unfortunately, we could see stories like this turn up more frequently. Unless police departments around the country are clear with their officers on the importance of upholding constitutional liberties, this could be just the chance the left has been waiting for. Why fight the tumultuous battle that comes with outlawing guns when you can just make it so difficult to own one that no one bothers? Hopefully, this kind of roundabout infringement story will encourage more responsible adults to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. After all, they may not be around much longer.