Retired teacher faces felony gun charge over antique pistol in vehicle glove box
A 72-year-old retired New Jersey schoolteacher apparently thought he had nothing to worry about when he consented to a search of his vehicle after a traffic stop in November. Gordon Van Gilder even told a Cumberland County sheriff’s deputy about the antique pistol in his glove box.
But Van Gilder was wrong. He is now facing a felony handgun charge over the 225-year-old flintlock muzzleloader, which could result in prison time and the loss of his state teacher’s pension, if he is convicted, according to NRA News and the South Jersey Times.
Under federal law, the gun is considered a collectible rather than a standard firearm; however, state law is stricter. Van Gilder’s lawyer, Evan Nappen, said he hoped the case would prompt New Jersey to rethink its firearms laws, reports the Daily Journal.
“He really shouldn’t have been charged, you’d think there would be discretion,” Nappen said of his client. “He has no priors.There’s nothing like that here. There was nothing aggravating about this, no aggravating factor whatsoever.”
The sheriff’s department and county prosecutor’s office declined to discuss the criminal case while it is pending.