John Filippidis, of Hudson, Fla., is licensed in his state to carry a concealed firearm. He owns a Kel-Tec .38 semi-automatic handgun, which he keeps in his jeans or in a safe at home.
Filippidis locked the gun in his safe while he and his family took a long road trip up to Woodridge, N.J. for a family wedding over the Christmas holidays.
“I know the laws and I know the rules,” Filippidis told The Tampa Tribune. "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, his wife and their three teens were driving home on New Year’s Eve on Interstate 95 in Maryland when their car was pulled over by a Maryland Transportation Authority police cruiser that had been tailing them for some time.
The officer took Filippidis' license and registration, went back to his cruiser and returned minutes later. Filippidis says he was ordered out of the car by the officer, who stated, "You own a gun. Where is it?”
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After Filippidis told him that the gun was "at home in my safe," the officer questioned his wife, who was in the family car.
Kally Filippidis recalls telling the officer “I don’t know,” but then 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 then stated to 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.”
Three police cars soon arrived to search the family, their luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags, engine compartment and door panels.
No gun was found, but the officer wrote Filippidis a warning.
“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal,” Filippidis added. “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.”
According to The Blaze, the Maryland Transportation Authority Police has declined to issue a statement on the incident, pending an investigation.
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The officer’s captain and the Maryland Transportation Authority Police internal affairs captain have apologized to Filippidis, who is considering canceling his concealed carry gun license.