New Jersey retiree facing 10 years in prison for antique pistol during traffic stopRetired teacher and New Jersey resident Gordon van Gilder, 72, is facing felony gun possession charges after caught with an unloaded, antique flintlock pistol in his glove compartment.(NRA NEWS VIA YOUTUBE)BYNINA GOLGOWSKINEW YORK DAILY NEWSTuesday, February 17, 2015, 9:29 PM
A 300-year-old flintlock pistol may be the exact kind of weapon the Second Amendment was written to protect.
But for 72-year-old Gordon van Gilder – who's a collector of 18th century antiques – he says he’s facing up to 10 years in prison because he was found possessing such a weapon at a New Jersey traffic stop.
"Beware of New Jersey. Don't come here. Don't live here," the retired teacher recently told NRA News
following his big bust for unlawful, felony weapons possession in the Garden State.
The Cumberland County resident said his own honesty got the best of him when he voluntarily revealed the unloaded, antique firearm to prying deputies late last year during a search of his vehicle.
Even though antique guns aren't considered "firearms" under Federal law, New Jersy's gun laws treat them like any other modern-day weapon.The 300-year-old weapon, seen here, was in his glove compartment, which violates New Jersey law. The retired teacher also didn't have the proper paperwork for it, police said.(NRA NEWS VIA YOUTUBE)
The pistol was wrapped in a white cloth in his glove compartment when he pointed it out to inquiring deputies who asked if he had anything they should be aware of, he said.
The deputy inspected the weapon and then let him go. But once word got back to the sheriff, he said four officers arrived at his home the next morning to arrest him for its possession without having proper paperwork and with it having been improperly stored in a motor vehicle, violating state laws.
"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," he vented.
But it's not only an insult. Van Gilder's felony offense could jeopardize his teacher's pension and right to vote, his attorney, Evan Nappen, who specializes in gun law cases, told Legal Insurrection.
The 10-year sentence, which wouldn't have parole until the third or fifth year, could also mean life behind bars for the retiree, Nappen added.
That's a risk van Gilder said he refuses to take.
"I like to mind my own business and not bother anybody but I have no choice here. I've been thrown to the lions so I'm going to fight back," he said. "Maybe I did violate New Jersey law, but as a very wise man once said once upon a time, if that's the law, then the law's an ass."