A 72-year-old New Jersey man is facing up to 10 years in prison for possessing an unloaded 250-year-old flintlock pistol.
Gordon VanGilder was pulled over in November for a minor traffic violation. After VanGilder gave his permission to have his car searched, the officer asked if there was anything he “should be afraid of” in the vehicle.
VanGilder, a retired school teacher, said there was an unloaded, antique flintlock pistol in the glovebox.
Although he was free to leave the scene of the traffic stop, four sheriff’s deputies arrested VanGilder early the following morning and led him out of his residence in handcuffs for possession of a firearm — a felony.
“Apparently there must be a lot of drive-by, flintlock shootings in North Jersey,” VanGilder quipped to NRA News, trying to make light of a serious situation — he’s facing a mandatory minimum sentence of 3-1/2 to 5 years if convicted.
“I think I can win this, and if I don’t, my heart is lost for all of America,” he added. “It’s the loss of our history and our tradition and who we are.”
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