Illinois is hardly a gun-friendly state. Yes, it’s not Massachusetts, New Jersey, California or MARYLAND, but it’s not gun friendly.
Because gun ownership is so (relatively) scarce in Illinois, Prairie State residents get to enjoy (much) higher crime rates (4.15/100,000 violent crime rate) than gun-friendly states like Indiana (3.46/100k violent crime rate) or *really* gun friendly states like Kentucky (2.23/100k).
Maryland (4.77/100k violent crime rate) is similar to Illinois in terms of its welcoming of good guy gun owners. In fact, Maryland’s anti-gun Democrats think their crime problem will be solved by TARGETING card-carrying good guys traveling through from out-of-state.
Because, you know, those concealed carry license holders are so very prone to criminal acts – especially violent acts against others. NOT!
(Washington Times) – 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.)
When the search turned up nothing, Mr. Filippidis, 51, was allowed to go and was issued only a speeding warning.
The incident gained national attention. Mr. Filippidis went on multiple radio programs and described in detail how scared and outraged he and his family were. He wondered: How did the police know he was licensed for concealed carry, and what right did they have to search through his personal items on the side of the busy interstate filled with holiday travelers on that 10-degree day?
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.
Baltimore-based criminal defense lawyer Paul Kramer says these type of stops and searches happen far too often in Maryland and are a waste of taxpayer money. Mr. Kramer represented a Pennsylvania security officer who was pulled over in the state for speeding. The Maryland officer asked Mr. Kramer’s client whether he had a gun in the car, and once the man acknowledged he did, the officer arrested him for having the gun and the cartridge in the same locked container — not separated, as per Maryland law.
“The officer who stopped Mr. Filippidis smelled the odor of marijuana in the vehicle on his initial approach of the vehicle,” Mr. Green said. “Based on the conflicting stories regarding the location of the gun, the observations made while the vehicle was being stopped and the suspected odor of marijuana, the officer had probable cause to search the vehicle for possible controlled dangerous substances (CDS) and the weapon.”
Mr. Filippidis vehemently denies there was any smell of marijuana in his car, and he didn’t know that was the excuse used to justify the search of his SUV. He did say he may have been going a little over the speed limit, and his wife was confused about the whereabouts of his gun.
“If they smelled pot, why didn’t they arrest me for pot?” Mr. Filippidis said. “This whole thing just doesn’t add up. Smoking in front of my kids driving home from Christmas with the family? Come on. We walked away from the entire incident without even a ticket — for anything.”
As for Mr. Tonnesen, a search of his vehicle was justified after the same officer felt threatened and that Mr. Tonnesen was hiding something as both of his hands weren’t readily visible. He was also pulled over for speeding.