Wednesday, February 5, 2014

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As you read this post you should be asking how a State Trooper was able to almost instantly gain this kind of detailed personal information on a law abiding citizen . . . S.L.

A Florida concealed carry permit holder had an unpleasant run-in with a Maryland police officer while traveling through the state.

John Filippidis and his family drove from Florida to New Jersey last December for Christmas and a wedding. He knew he’d be traveling through states that aren’t gun-friendly, so he left his gun at home.

“I know the laws and I know the rules,” Filippidis said. “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.”

Filippidis was followed by a Maryland cop on I-95 after passing through the Fort McHenry tunnel. He said the cop flanked him, pulled ahead of him, and then got behind them. After about ten minutes of that, the officer pulled Filippidis over.

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

The officer was from the Transportation Authority Police. He asked Filippidis for his license and registration. Around ten minutes later, he returned and asked John to exit his vehicle.

“You own a gun,” the officer says. “Where is it?”

Filippidis told the officer his gun was at home in his safe.

Apparently the officer didn’t believe Filippidis, because he began questioning his wife, Kally, next:

“Your husband owns a gun. Where is it?”

First Kally said, “I don’t know.” Retelling it later to the Tampa Tribune she said, “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.”

That’s when things escalated. The officer confronted Filippidis:

“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.”

Of course a gun could not be produced, since it was home in Filippidis’ safe.

This prompted the officer to call for backup, as the Tampa Tribune reports:

Kally’s failure to corroborate John’s account, the officer would tell them later, was the probable cause that allowed him to summon backup — three marked cars joined the lineup along the I-95 shoulder — and empty the Expedition of riders, luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags; to pat down Kally and Yianni; to explore the engine compartment and probe inside door panels; and to separate and isolate the Filippidises in the back seats of the patrol cars.

Almost two hours later, after no weapon was found, the Filippidis family was given a written warning (the offense was not noted) and the ordeal ended.

How the officer knew that Filippidis owns a gun has not been revealed. MTAP is conducting an investigation and could not comment.

How They Knew:

License plate cameras track millions of Americans

I saw a demonstration of this technology at a security convention. The cameras can read license plates even in the dark. Thanks to the nature of modern electronics, the information associated with a license plate number can be instantly accessed from law enforcement data banks. In this case, the Maryland State Trooper was immediately aware that the owner of the vehicle bearing this particlular Florida license plate also possessed a concealed carry permit.

Technology has become our modern-day Sword of Damacles - it is our servant, yet it rules over us. As a security professional, I support law enforcement and national security, but not overzealous officers harassing law abiding citizens, exploiting technology to push a situation around the Fourth Amendment - protection from unreasonable search and seizure - in an attempt to create a criminal set of circumstances where none exists.

Situational Awareness

As you travel across State lines, be aware of State laws regarding firearms possession and transportation. Regarding our gentle neighbor to the North, here is a sobering story that should serve as a warning to all of us: Veteran Could Serve Three Years in Prison After Wrong Turn into Canada

Gun laws are draconian in the State of Maryland, and do not specifically address out-of-state residents transporting legally-owned weapons while transiting through the State of Maryland. As close as I can read it, the weapon must be in a locked container, in a separate compartment of the car from the ammunition.

Know the location of all your weapons, keep ammunition stored in a separate, secure location. Store any weapons not within your immediate possession unloaded, but treat all weapons as if they are loaded at all times. When you are carrying, know the condition of your weapon at all times.



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