Seventy-two-year-old Gordon VanGilder of New Jersey faces the possibility of ten years in prison for having an antique flintlock pistol in his possession.
According to NRA News’ Ginny Simone, after being “pulled over for a minor traffic violation,” VanGilder told the sheriff’s deputy he had the pistol from the mid-1700s in his car. The pistol was unloaded, yet the teacher who retired after 34 years on the job was charged with a felony and later marched out of his house in handcuffs.
VanGilder said, “It’s unbelievable. It’s outrageous. It’s an insult to decent people.”
His attorney said law enforcement charged him as if he “had a 44 Magnum loaded, on his person. It doesn’t matter [that he didn’t]. There’s no distinction [in New Jersey].” The attorney asked, “What other constitutional right is treated where there’s presumption of wrongful possession? Yet that is how guns are treated in New Jersey.”
If found guilty, the charges against VanGilder carry a “minimum mandatory 3.5 to 5 years [with] no chance for parole.”
VanGilder says he is determined “to beat what has become a relentless assault on law-abiding gun owners and our firearm freedoms in [New Jersey].”
It’s difficult to understand how Governor Chris Christie (R) could allow the prosecution of VanGilder and potentially run for President of the United States on a pro-gun platform; there is nothing remotely pro-gun about the treatment this 72-year-old former school teacher is receiving in New Jersey.
Follow AWR Hawkins on Twitter @AWRHawkins. Reach him directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.