A Florida licensed gun owner had an unpleasant run-in with a Maryland police officer while traveling through the state on a family vacation.
John Filippidis, a business owner and employer, is licensed to carry a concealed firearm. He and his family drove from Florida to New Jersey in December for Christmas and a wedding. Not looking for trouble, Filippidis decided to leave his palm-sized Kel-Tec .38 semiautomatic at home.
But that wasn’t enough. While passing Interstate 95, he and his wife, Kally, soon realized they were being followed by a Maryland police officer.
“Ten minutes he’s behind us,” FIlippidis told The Tampa Tribune. “We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past.”
The officer, from the Transportation Authority Police, asked Filippidis for his license and registration. Ten minutes later, he asked John to exit his vehicle.
He asked where Filippidis’ gun was, to which John replied was at his home in his safe.
The cop proceeded to ask Filippidis’ wife, Kally.
“Your husband owns a gun. Where is it?” the cop asked.
“I don’t know,” Kally said. “And that’s all I should have said.”
But in an attempt to be helpful she suggested the gun might have been in the glove compartment or in the console.
“I’m scared of it. I don’t want to have anything to do with it,” she recalls saying. “I might shoot right through my foot.”
The unidentified officer returned to John.
“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,” the cop told him.
The search for the gun and interrogation continued for what seemed “forever,” Kally told The Tampa Tribune. At the end, the officer wrote out a warning to John.
“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal,” John said. “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.”
Since the ordeal, John has received apologies from the officer’s captain as well as from a Maryland Transportation Authority Police internal affairs captain. Now John is considering canceling his license, but is hesitant.
“Things aren’t like they used to be. The break-ins, the burglaries, all the crime,” John said. “And I carry cash a lot of the time. I’m constantly going to the bank. I wanted to defend my family, my household and the ground I’m standing on. But I’m not looking for any trouble.”
It has not been known how the officer knew that Filippidis owns a gun. The MTAP is conducting an investigation, according to Joe For America.
Sources: The Tampa Tribune, Joe For America
A new report by the Justice Department’s Office of the Inspector General found that 58% of gun shops were not properly monitored by the federal government to ensure that the stores comply with federal laws.
The report primarily points the finger at the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms. After all, the agency was created specifically to enforce gun distribution regulations. The ATF has apparently been falling short on one of its primary responsibilities, because 58% of federally licensed gun stores were not been inspected by the ATF over a five year period. The report called the ATF’s techniques “infrequent and inconsistent.”
The report also found that the ATF failed to keep track of whether or not investigators inspected “high risk” dealers along the US-Mexico border and in high-crime areas.
David Petronis, the owner of a store in Mechanicsville, New York, confirmed that the ATF had last stopped by to check his books “four or five years ago.” Stores like his that slip under the ATF’s radar might raise a few eyebrows, but the ATF’s oversight does not necessarily mean that these retailers are breaking any laws. Petronis argued that many of these stores operate well within federal guidelines. He stated, “Every [Federal Firearms License] dealer has to conform to all the rules and regulations the ATF puts out on the off chance they knock on your door in the morning.”
This report certainly makes the ATF (and the federal government along with it) look bad, but the ATF wasn’t about to take full responsibility. In a written response to the report, ATF officials argued that they lacked the resources to regularly inspect every single firearm distributor in America, requesting 504 additional investigators (a 45% increase) to get up to par.
The ATF has been growing – its workforce has increased by about 22% since 2004, but it’s still having a hard time catching up to the gun industry. During that same period, the number of licensed firearm dealers increased by 16%.
This report highlights a major flaw in the federal gun regulation system. In fact, some speculate that the Newtown shooting tragedy might have never happened if the ATF had been on the ball. Riverview Gun Sales, the distributor that sold Adam Lanza’s mother her firearms, was found to have more than 500 violations. How many other crimes could be prevented if the ATF could properly do its job?