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 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.
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.)Mr. Filippidis' case earned the support of Second Amendment advocates and subsequent apologies from the MDTA. But an internal police review concluded his stop and search were lawful and did not violate police protocols.
Those findings, however, have not satisfied other out-of-state gun owners, who worry that they, too, have been targeted for minor traffic stops in Maryland because they have concealed weapons permits. Their stories are accumulating.
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."
MDTA denies it targets out-of-state gun owners and noted the review of Mr. Fillipides earlier traffic stop concluded the officers did nothing wrong.
The purpose of licenses and permits is not to protect the public, not to reduce crime, not even to create revenue. In the new predation policing model, the purpose of licenses and permits is to identify targets. Ubiquitous surveillance systems find you, vector enforcement onto your location and then the State takes your stuff and maybe your freedom. Not because you've ever done anything in your life to deserve it, but because they can. Pure and simple.