I just wanted your organization to know what Our State Police are up too. The incident below happened to me, a legal gun owner in La Plata, Maryland two nights ago (August 4, 2008 at 12:30 PM). Next time, they won't get in without a warrant. You live and you learn. Below, is the e-mail I sent to Mr. Chris Contee NRA, Chief Counsel at his request. I know I'm not an isolated incident so I hope your members keep their doors locked.
It was great to speak with you today by phone. Sorry but also glad you are so busy with our legislative matters. What would we do without you and the NRA?
As I told you by phone, my Wife and I were unfairly besieged late last night by the Maryland State Police. I have also relayed this occurrence to "Citizens Group for the right to keep and bear arms". I believe they are in Seattle Washington. Enclosed is my summation for your review. Good luck on your trip and safe travel.
Last night at 12:30 pm a MD State Police "Armed Response Team" showed up at our door. I was dead asleep, my Wife was laying some ceramic tile on our basement floor when our driveway alert went off several times. She looked at the camera monitor and screamed that Police in Assault gear were running up to our front door. That made me sit straight up from a dead sleep.
We thought they were there for my Brother in Law who had just been mailed Bench Warrants to our home, but he doesn't live here and he is already incarcerated, so my Wife opened the door for them. Then I heard one of them say he had some papers for me or needed to speak with me,so I got up to speak with them 6 or 7 officers in full assault vests, etc. and NO ONE in uniform. Four heavily armed police came into the house while at least two others walked around outside of our home.
One, began to talk to me asking me about the types of weapons I own. Remember now, I was just startled from a dead sleep and I kept asking why are you here, why do you want to know about my guns? Every gun I bought in Maryland I bought from a MD Dealer. Well this Trooper said that I had purchased a "large amount" of ammunition recently and wanted to know why. When I questioned why he was asking, then he changed his tune to what type of Handguns I had. I told him I just purchased my first handgun in Maryland last week, but had not even picked it up from the Store . He questioned me about other handguns I might own and I realized that he was "fishing" to match his list of my ammunition purchases with handguns that I owned. Then I told him about my C&R license that I had purchased 2 with that but was not required to register them with ST. Police. Moreover, I told him it was the MD. ST. Police who approved me as a "designated collector" so why are they here in storm trooper fashion at 12:30 pm maybe to kill me because I legally bought some handgun ammo? He told me that most of the ammo I purchased was for weapons that they had no record of me having registered so the "SYSTEM" Flagged me. Flagged me for what? Death, Harassment at midnight by 7 Storm Troopers?
I asked, "... does your system know that it is stupid to buy ammo with your own ID if your are going to do something illegal, Does your system know that I have a C&R and can buy weapons of various calibers without your knowledge, Does your system know that you yourselves registered me as a designated collector, who "collects" so it is not unusual for me to buy any type or manner of ammunition and finally, Does your system know that it is NOT illegal to purchase handgun ammunition in the State of Maryland whether or not you own that caliber handgun?"
The Trooper (plain clothes), had a list of ammo calibers that he referred to and I agreed, there's no secret that I bought the ammo, but so what? And I'm still not sure of the States definition of a "large amount". Look, I'm not outfitting a Militia, hate group, or giving it to someone who can't buy it, or even buy ammo for a stolen weapon I don't want to register. Any weapon I have every owned has either been purchased at a Gun Store or I personally knew the individual I bought it from and its origin. And, last time I looked it is not illegal to buy handgun ammo, even if you don't own the caliber weapon OR you don't own a weapon at all !! So unless the law is changed, Police cannot harass people who do so.
That being said, the young Trooper told me I "should" voluntarily register all my weapons or this would happen again... because the "system" flagged me. And another thing, he kept asking where I kept my weapons, in a safe? I never answered him and he asked me three separate times as to the locations of any weapons I might have. I got the distinct impression he wanted me to voluntarily let him see/inspect the handguns for the calibers I bought ammo for, but I was ready for that. No warrant, no see. I mean, I would hope you could trust the Police, but why should I let six or seven or so strangers know where I keep guns? If indeed I had the calibers he was inquiring about?
The point here though, is that Police came to my home without a warrant, dressed to kill, trying to intimidate me about something that is NOT illegal !! This was not an Interview it was an interrogation under duress.
Funny the last thing he said to me before leaving was "... Mr. Curtis, sorry to have HARASSED you, you have a good night." Now that struck me as an odd thing for a Police Officer to say, especially if he was justified in doing his job. The last thing I'll say was that Trooper was courteous and having worn the badge, he and the team were sent by someone else, they're just following orders. However, whoever sent them to my home at 12:30 at night left a very bad taste in my mouth and NO ONE IDENTIFIED THEMSELVES TO ME NOR DO I KNOW THEIR NAMES. But rest assured they WERE the Maryland State Police. Word has it that there is a Special "Firearms" squad within the State Police and they have been asking gun dealers to keep a log of people who purchase handgun and other regulated weapon ammunition by making them show ID and signing their name when purchasing ammunition (not required under Maryland Law). Their MVA / DMV information is put in the log by the FFL Dealer right beside the ammunition you buy. Then once a week they (Police) come back to the stores pick up the logs of ammunition purchases and as in my case, they are comparing handgun ammunition purchases against known handgun registration files. This practice was first started by the Howard County or Baltimore City Police (I believe), and the MD State Police adopted this tactic as well. Perhaps it works, some criminals are stupid enough to purchase ammunition with their own ID. I am not a criminal nor am I stupid, but I was duped into signing those ammunition logs, without the FFL Dealer advising me that it is NOT mandatory or disclosing the log's true purpose.In fact I was told that if 'you' refuse to sign this ammunition log, the Dealer will refuse the sale. I will NEVER buy ammunition from that Dealer again.
We've contemplated moving back to VA or even go down to Florida for a while. But that was yesterday. Now there is nothing that will hold us back from moving back to a "Free State". Or at least a State where subversive tactics are not practiced by the Police.
FYI: I have been in contact with Attorney Chris Contee, NRA Legal Council and He/NRA is very interested in this case. Hopefully this Tactic can be publicized, excised and stopped.