Explore The NRA Universe Of Websites

APPEARS IN News

New Jersey Man Faces 10-Years for 1760s Flintlock Pistol

Friday, February 20, 2015

New Jersey Man Faces 10-Years for 1760s Flintlock Pistol

In the past few years, New Jersey’s draconian gun laws have led to a number of outrageous legal abuses, including the cases of Brian D. Aitken and Shaneen Allen. Gross injustice in the Aitken and Allen matters was thwarted only by extraordinary intervention from the state’s executive branch. Hopefully, a new case involving the arrest of a 72-year-old man over a 250-year-old artifact will finally convince the state legislature to act.

Back in November, Gordon Van Gilder, who had retired after 34 years of teaching, was traveling in Cumberland County, N.J., when the vehicle he was in was subjected to a traffic stop. Van Gilder, a collector of historical objects, was traveling at the time with an unloaded and wrapped 1760s flintlock pistol in the glove compartment of his vehicle. The pensioner and a traveling companion were pressured into allowing the officer to conduct a search of the vehicle, at which point Van Gilder told the officer about the antique firearm. Eventually, Van Gilder was allowed to continue on his way.

The next day, however, several law enforcement officers came to Van Gilder’s home and arrested him. Van Gilder was charged with unlawful possession of a handgun. New Jersey law targets “[a]ny person who knowingly has in his possession any handgun, including any antique handgun, without first having obtained a permit to carry the same.” The charge holds a minimum sentence of 3.5 years with maximum sentence of 10.

An NRA News interview conducted with Van Gilder and his attorney, Evan Nappen, recounts the former teacher’s harrowing experience. Van Gilder warned viewers, “Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here, don’t live here.” His treatment, he added, was “an insult to decent people.”

In subsequent comments made to Fox News, Nappen elaborated on the lunacy of New Jersey’s persecutory approach to guns. “I called the prosecutor to see what we could do on this, and the prosecutor told me that they were waiting for ballistics,” Nappen said. “And I’m thinking, What? Ballistics on a flintlock?” Nappen also noted that if prosecutors pursue the case against Van Gilder, the retired teacher could be forced to hope for a pardon from the governor, a route similar to the commutation of the sentence Brian Aitken received in 2010.

If there is any silver lining to this unfortunate episode, it’s that Van Gilder’s case has brought attention to yet another obvious problem with New Jersey law, which at least one lawmaker is intent on changing. State Assemblywoman Caroline Casagrande (R-Monmouth) plans to introduce a bill to align New Jersey law with the federal Gun Control Act, which exempts from regulation firearms made prior to 1898. Casagrande’s legislation is an encouraging step forward for beleaguered Garden State gun owners who deserve a wholesale change of the state’s gun control regime.

In addition to shedding light on New Jersey’s bizarre and unjust laws, Van Gilder’s encounter with law enforcement, during which he (or another person in the vehicle) consented to a search and offered up the fact that he was transporting the antique gun, also provides another important reminder. Individuals can stand on their Fourth Amendment rights to avoid unwarranted and invasive searches and on their Fifth Amendment rights to avoid unwittingly incriminating themselves by trying to be helpful and cooperative. As with the case of Shaneen Allen, well-meaning and otherwise law-abiding citizens can be ensnared by unjust laws when providing more information and access to law enforcement officials than their rights require.

In a sane world, decent, harmless people, police officers, and the criminal code would all be on the same side. Then you have New Jersey, where nothing is sane when it comes to gun control policy.

TRENDING NOW
Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Illinois: Committee Passes Bill to Allow Local Infringement of Second Amendment

The Illinois state Senate could vote on legislation to allow localities to infringe upon Second Amendment rights as early as today.  Senate Bill 2314 was moved to third reading after it had passed the Senate ...

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

UK Officials Continue to Push Knife/Gun/Cleaning Products Control

The UK’s descent into absurdity continued this week as officials announced new efforts to crack down on knives and other potentially dangerous objects. The renewed interest in banning sharp objects stems from a recent spate of killings in London. ...

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Unfriendly Skies: Delta CEO Claims Bashing NRA Members is Good Business

In the wake of the Parkland, Florida, murders, there has been an unusual amount of anti-gun and anti-NRA commentary by private corporations with plenty of problems of their own.   In February, Delta announced it was ending a ...

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Pennsylvania: Semi-Auto Ban Legislation to be Introduced

This week, Senator Wayne Fontana (D-Allegheny) started circulating a co-sponsorship memorandum soliciting members of the Pennsylvania state Senate to support a proposal to ban commonly owned semi-automatic firearms and standard capacity magazines in Pennsylvania.  Please ...

Illinois: Committees to Hear Gun Control

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Illinois: Committees to Hear Gun Control

Today, the Illinois state House Judiciary-Criminal Committee will be considering a floor amendment that was added to House Bill 1470 to ration the exercise of Second Amendment rights. In addition, the state Senate Judiciary Committee will consider bills that would ...

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

New Jersey: Senate Committee Approves Gun Control Bills

On Monday, the Senate Law & Public Safety Committee approved several gun control bills during a hearing that stretched over five hours. 

Trial Judge Mocks the Late Justice Scalia While Upholding Expansive Gun Ban

Second Amendment  

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trial Judge Mocks the Late Justice Scalia While Upholding Expansive Gun Ban

Gun owners have seen many outrageous instances of courts dismissing the importance, if not the very existence, of the individual right to keep and bear arms. But Judge William G. Young of the U.S. District ...

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

Bailed-out Banks Launch Coordinated Attack on Law-abiding Gun Owners

There is growing evidence that some of America’s financial elite want to create a world in which America’s public policy decisions emanate from corporate boardrooms in Manhattan rather than from citizens and their elected officials.  ...

The Opposite of Data-Driven Public Policy

News  

Friday, April 13, 2018

The Opposite of Data-Driven Public Policy

The Governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, signed gun control measures earlier this week – adding restrictive new laws including age restrictions on firearms purchases, bans on “high-capacity” (read: standard capacity) magazines, bans on bump stocks, and ...

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Washington: Seattle to Consider Legislation to Make Firearms Unavailable for Self-Defense

Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and Councilmember M. Lorena González have announced their intention to introduce legislation to impose a one-size-fits-all method of storing firearms as well as punishing victims of theft by requiring reporting of lost or ...

MORE TRENDING +
LESS TRENDING -
NRA ILA

Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.