Just when you think gun restriction laws in America can’t get anymore farcical, New Jersey decides to up its game. Specifically, they wish to throw a 72 year old retired teacher in prison for owning a 300 year old antique flintlock pistol, according to reports coming out on Feb. 18. That’s right, you can get what amounts to a life sentence in The Garden State for possessing a firearm that hasn’t been useful since Blackbeard roamed the seas.
Gordon Van Gilder is a veteran school teacher and a collector of antiques. One of those antiques is the gun in question, which the state of New Jersey treats as the same as a modern gun under state law. New Jersey has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, believing that its residents should be at the mercy of criminals and depend on police rather than to be able to defend themselves.
The incident is drawing comparisons to last year’s case of Shaneen Allen, a Pennsylvania resident who travelled with a gun in her car that she had a permit for. When she went into New Jersey, however, the permit held no weight. She was arrested, though charges were later dropped when people from around the nation pressured New Jersey into not being, you know, stupid.
The flintlock pistol that Van Gilder was transporting was the same type invented in the early 1600s. It was popular until better firearms became available, largely because the flintlock pistol was prone to misfiring, sensitive to moisture, and all around just a primitive gun. Not only that, but the gun wasn’t even loaded. None of that matters to the worst run state in the nation, however.
All of these nanny state overreaches in New York’s overflow bin are sure to be harmful to Governor Chris Christie’s presidential aspirations. He identifies as a Republican, which you may recognize as being made up of staunch gun rights activists. At the same time he runs on the party that claims to be the one in support of smaller government, his state’s policies betray him. Add that to his recent comments on marijuana legalization in Colorado, which has become a veritable utopia since, and he starts to come off as being a fan of large government controlling the personal lives of individuals.
“It’s the world turned upside-down,” said Van Gilder, warning people away from the state that is the punchline for basically every joke already. “Beware of New Jersey. Don’t come here. Don’t live here.”
Don’t worry, Mr. Van Gilder, very few people have any intention of doing so.