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Gun Control in the Garden State | U.S. PATRIOT NEWS & REVIEWS

Gun Control in the Garden State

In an attempt to cut down on New Jersey’s drive-by musket attacks, sheriffs in Cumberland County have arrested 72-year-old retired teacher Gordon VanGilder for carrying an unloaded flintlock pistol in the glove compartment of his car.

Flintlock PistolsJust to make sure that the public knows that the prosecution of this “danger to society” is real, the sheriff has stated they will be running ballistic tests on the firearm. Although a reason was not given, one has to wonder just how many open murder cases exist in New Jersey where the victim was shot with a musket.

It doesn’t matter, anyway, since ballistic testing on smoothbore firearms tends to be rather inconclusive. In most cases, although not all, flintlock pistols don’t have rifling in the barrels.

If convicted, VanGilder faces ten years in prison. Additionally, a conviction would affect his ability to vote, his pension and his reputation.

Attorney Evan Nappen, a specialist in gun control cases, said VanGilder is “facing the same draconian penalty as if he had a .44 magnum loaded on his person … There’s no distinction.”

Nappen said, “You name it, New Jersey regulates it, and they just don’t make it into misdemeanors. Every one of them is a felony. Every one. You have a slingshot in New Jersey, you face a felony charge.”

New Jersey’s laws do classify antique firearms in the same category as other weapons, as opposed to federal law that classifies them as antiques, but this is frighteningly stupid. VanGilder is not a career criminal, and that pistol would do more damage to a wallet than to a person. It is a stunning piece, but the video shows three or four different pistols, most of which aren’t as nice as VanGilder’s pistol.

When draconian gun control laws run into common-sense situations, the state is always the one that comes out looking like a bully. The sheriff’s deputy that pulled VanGilder over did not want to charge him; that decision was made by the sheriff. A crew of four officers showed up at his home the next morning, woke him and took him to jail in handcuffs.

Although VanGilder admitted that he was probably in violation of the state law, he wasn’t in violation of the federal statutes. This conflict elevates this case from a simple firearms possession violation into a constitutional issue. New Jersey’s firearm laws, and this example of their enforcement, infringes up VanGilder rights to keep and bear arms.

“It’s the world turned upside-down,” said VanGilder in the video. “Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here. Don’t live here.”

It will be interesting to watch Governor Chris Christie’s response to this situation. The current state of affairs will hurt the potential presidential candidate’s reputation among pro-gun advocates.

Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.

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Matt Towns

Matt is a former military journalist who spent 10 years in the US Navy. He served in various posts during his career, including a couple of deployments on the USS Valley Forge (CG-50). After leaving the Navy, he worked in management for a number of years before opening his own businesses. He ran those businesses until 2012 when he chose to leave the retail industry and return to writing. Matt currently works as a freelance writer, contributing to the US Patriot blog and other websites about political affairs, military activities and sailing.
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