A Leesburg man was arrested for having a concealed gun in his car during a traffic stop late Friday night in Eustis.
A Eustis police officer was on traffic patrol near the intersection of County Road 452 and County Road 19A when he observed a black Jeep traveling south on CR452 at a high rate of speed according to the officer’s arrest report. The officer used his laser speed detector which clocked the Jeep going 53 miles per hour in a 40 mph zone. The officer stopped the Jeep at the intersection of North Bay Street and West Pendleton Avenue. When the officer asked the driver for his license the driver produced a Florida license which identified him as 42-year-old Michael Alex Smith.
While the officer was explaining why he stopped Smith he was told by Smith that he had a gun under a blanket in his car. When Smith lifted the blanket the officer could see there was an unloaded pistol in an unzipped gray pouch along with two loaded magazines. The gun was within easy reach of Smith. Smith admitted that he did not have a concealed weapons permit. When the officer ran a check on Smith the records indicated that the Wisconsin native had no felony convictions and that the gun had not been reported stolen. Smith then told the officer that he had just gotten his weapon back from the Florida Highway Patrol after he had been in a traffic accident. He went on to say that the gun was new and had never been fired. He was placed under arrest at that time while claiming he had been following “the three step rule” which gun owners should use when interacting with police officers. The three step rule dictates that the gun should be unloaded, in a secured case and not be accessible to the driver or passenger. However, his actions did not conform to Florida law and he was taken to the Lake County Jail with bond set at $2,000 for carrying a concealed firearm without a permit.