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
Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 19, 2017

Court's Commonsense Conclusion: "There Was a Gun" Isn't Enough to Justify Issuing a Restraining Order

The Supreme Court of North Dakota confirmed this week that simply possessing a handgun while on one’s own private property cannot support a finding of "disorderly conduct" under the state’s disorderly conduct restraining order law. ...

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Rep. Rob Bishop Introduces the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act"

On Wednesday, May 24, 2017, Chairman of the House Committee on Natural Resources Rob Bishop (R-UT) introduced H.R. 2620, the "Lawful Purpose and Self Defense Act." This bill would remove ATF's authority to use the ...

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Concealed Carrying Hits New High, Underscores Need for National Law

Information collected by the Crime Prevention Research Center (CPRC) indicates an unprecedented surge in the number of concealed carry permits, with the largest one-year increase on record occurring between May 2016 and May 2017.

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

News  

Second Amendment  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Legislation Reintroduced to Permanently Dismantle Obama-Era Enforcement Abuse

This week, Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO) reintroduced the Financial Institution Customer Protection Act, a bill aimed at permanently dismantling Operation Choke Point (OCP).  

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Illinois: House Committee Passes Bill to Close Local Gun Dealers

The House Judiciary Committee passed Senate Bill 1657 by a 7-6 vote.

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Abbott Signs Senate Bill 16, Bringing Texas License To Carry Fees Down to Among Lowest in Nation

The National Rifle Association Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA) today applauded Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for signing into law NRA-backed legislation that will make license to carry fees in Texas among the lowest in the ...

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Nevada: Governor Sandoval Signs AB 118!

Today, May 22, Governor Brian Sandoval signed important pro-gun legislation, Assembly Bill 118, into law.  AB 118, sponsored by Assemblyman Skip Daly, will allow members of the military and those who have received an honorable ...

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

News  

Thursday, May 25, 2017

New Zealand Police Mislead Current and Prospective Gun Owners

Back in April, NRA-ILA alerted readers to the results of the New Zealand Parliament Law and Order Committee’s “Inquiry into issues relating to the illegal possession of firearms in New Zealand,” which proposed that a ...

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

News  

Friday, May 26, 2017

Public Health Researchers Use Common Gun Control Tactic to Mislead on “Children” and Guns

It is one of the most well-worn tactics of those who advocate for gun control. Step one, acquire statistics on firearms injuries among children ages 0-14. Step two, combine these relatively low numbers with the ...

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Illinois: Anti-Gun Legislators Attempting to Get “Assault Weapon” Language into law

This week, Senator Antonio Munoz filed Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 556.

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.