Retired teacher Gordon Van Gilder, 72, could be sent to jail for up to 10 years for possession of a unloaded antique flintlock pistol.
New Jersey’s strict gun control law makes no distinction between a loaded, modern weapon such as a.44 Magnum and an antique firearm.
A history buff and memorabilia collector, Van Gilder had the unloaded 300-year-old pistol in his car when he was pulled over in a routine traffic stop in Cumberland County, New Jersey, last November.
In consenting to a search of the vehicle, the ex-educator informed cops that the antique was wrapped in cloth in the glove compartment. One of the cops wanted to let him go following the search, but the Cumberland County Sheriff nixed that idea. The next morning, several officers showed up at Van Gilder’s home and took him into custody.
If convicted, Van Gilder faces a 10-year prison sentence, with a mandatory minimum of three to five years without parole. A felony conviction even without jail time could also among other things jeopardize his pension, which he earned after working 34 years in the New Jersey school system, Legal Insurrection detailed.
“While Gordon noted that he was probably in violation of the law, he wasn’t if he was going by the federal statute, which exempts such a class of firearms. The conflict between state and federal laws is a constitutional question,” Townhall explained.
Prosecutors even plan to run a ballistics test on the collectable for whatever reason. “[A] flintlock pistol dates back to the 17th century and [was] used in the American Civil War…Eventually technology advanced and the flintlocks simply became collectors items, one of the main reasons being it would take up to a whole minute to load one shot,” the Daily Surge observed.
In the meantime, Van Gilder, who is fighting the charges in court, won’t be cutting any promos for the Garden State, an area he plans to leave sooner rather than later. “Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here. Don’t live here,” he declared.
Gordon Van Gilder tells his side of the story in this pro-gun, NRA video.
As you may recall, New Jersey is the same state that initially planned to prosecute Philadelphia single mom and nurse Shaneen Allen for violating the state’s gun control laws. A licensed gun owner, Allen was pulled over in south Jersey at a time when she was unaware that the neighboring states lacked reciprocity as far as firearms permits are concerned.
Perhaps owing to the public outcry, the Atlantic County prosecutor who let Baltimore Ravens star Ray Rice off the hook allowed Allen the same form of leniency, i.e., a divergence program similar to pre-trial probation, which will result in the charges being dropped on successful completion of the program.
[image via YouTube]