A 72 year old retired teacher is facing 10 years in prison for having an antique handgun in New Jersey. Gordon Van Gilder had the nearly 300 year old unloaded gun wrapped in a cloth in his glove compartment during a traffic stop. The teacher collects 18th century artifacts and bought the gun to add it to his collection.
VanGilder was allowed to go on his way after the traffic stop but was arrested at his home the following morning when four police officers showed up with an arrest warrant.
“Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here. Don’t live here. Here I am, a retired teacher coming out of his house in handcuffs, who had a flintlock pistol and now I’m charged as a felon. It’s unbelievable. It’s outrageous. It’s an insult to decent people.”
To add insult to the injustice, VanGilder could lose his pension since he was an educator. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country but antique firearms are protected by a federal statute. This is a case where state and federal laws are conflicted.
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