‘In America, How Does Such a Thing Happen?’

On the surface, John Filippidis seems to be just the kind of responsible gun owner who should carry a concealed firearm. He’s a family man, small business owner and taxpayer who takes the responsibility of gun ownership seriously.

ANDY JONES/Tampa Tribune

However, he’s now considering canceling his concealed carry permit after what happened to him while driving through Maryland with his wife and three kids a few weeks ago.

According to Filippidis and his wife, Kally, they noticed an unmarked patrol car tailing them while traveling for Christmas and a family wedding in Woodridge, N.J. He claims the police car stayed with them for ten minutes.

“We weren’t speeding. In fact, lots of other cars were whizzing past,” Filippidis told the Tampa Tribune.

Eventually, the car’s emergency lights came on and he pulled the car over. The officer was reportedly with the Transportation Authority Police, “Maryland’s version of the New York-New Jersey Port Authority,” according to the report.

It should be noted that what happened next is the account of Filippidis and his wife. The Maryland Transportation Authority Police declined to comment, pending an investigation. However, Filippidis says he has received apologies from the officer’s captain and the MTAP internal affairs captain.

The officer reportedly asked Filippidis for his license and registration before returning to his patrol car. When he returned, the officer ordered the father out of his vehicle and told him to hook his thumbs behind his back and spread his feet.

Filippidis says he keeps a “palm-sized Kel-Tec .38 semiautomatic” pistol in only two places: in the right-hand pocket of his jeans or at home locked in a safe. On this particular day, it was in the safe.

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

“At home in my safe,” Filippidis replied. He claims he decided to leave his gun at home because he understands gun laws vary in different states.

“Don’t move,” the cop instructed.

The officer reportedly strolled up to the passenger side window to question the man’s wife, asking her for the location of her husband’s gun.

“I don’t know. 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,” she remembers saying, though she claims she really had no idea where it was.

Filippidis recalled the officer returning and calling him a “liar” because his wife failed to corroborate his claim that his firearm was back home in a safe.

The officer reportedly interpreted this as probable cause to search the car. Filippidis says police searched their luggage, Christmas gifts, laundry bags and even patted down his children.

After what felt like an eternity, police issued only a warning after they failed to find a firearm in the vehicle. It wasn’t clear from the report what the “warning” was for. Kally told the Tampa Tribune the search likely took roughly 90 minutes.

“All that time, he’s humiliating me in front of my family, making me feel like a criminal. 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,” Filippidis said.

“And he wants to put me in jail. He wants to put me in jail. For no reason. He wants to take my wife and children away and put me in jail. In America, how does such a thing happen? … And after all that, he didn’t even write me a ticket,” he added.

Even though he did nothing wrong, Filippidis is now wondering whether he should just cancel his concealed carry permit to avoid a similar situation in the future.

Read the Tampa Tribune’s full report here.

Carousel image via shutterstock.com

(H/T: Weasel Zippers)