Regulations and state-sanctioned intimidation to curb speech rights are said to have a “chilling effect” on speech rights. What we appear to be witnessing in Maryland, and no doubt in other anti-gun states across the nation, is a deliberate attempt to “chill” Second Amendment rights as well
In Dante’s Inferno, the gates of Hell are inscribed with the Latin phrase, “Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch’intrate.” Translated into English, the iconic phrase reads, “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Today, however, this phrase would be quite apt on all signs announcing the crossover into the state of Maryland, with one little tweak: “Abandon all hope, gun owners who enter here.”
One year ago last week, Florida-resident John Filippidis and his family were traveling through Maryland when his vehicle was pulled over by a Maryland Transportation Authority police officer. Filippidis, a concealed carry permit holder in his home state, was unsure of the reason for the stop, but as he quickly discovered, little about what would happen next had to do with his driving. According to Filippidis, as reported by the Tampa Tribune, the MDTA officer tailed his vehicle for 10 minutes before eventually signaling for him to pull over. After taking his license and registration for a check, the officer returned with demands that Filippidis exit the vehicle, assume the position, and tell him where his firearm was located. Meanwhile, his family was separated in the back of police cruisers while officers ransacked his car looking for his personal firearm that he had thought ahead of time to leave at home, in case of this very situation.
An internal review of the incident by the MDTA determined the stop to have followed protocol, and the search of Filippidis’ car to be “reasonable” based on nothing more than the “conflicting” statements made by his shaken wife about the location of the gun, as well as the officer’s belief that he smelled the odor of marijuana in the car. Not surprisingly, the exhaustive search of the vehicle turned-up neither firearm, nor marijuana or related paraphernalia. Instead, Filippidis was let go, after hours of harassment, with merely a warning for speeding.