A Pennsylvania woman faces three and a half to 10 years in prison as she heads to trial beginning October 6 for violating New Jersey’s state gun laws.
Shaneen Allen, 27, was the victim of two robberies in her south Philadelphia neighborhood. So, last September she purchased a handgun and obtained a permit that allows her to carry it in the state of Pennsylvania as well as a host of other states that have CCW reciprocity agreements with Pennsylvania. Just a week later, Allen, a single mother of two, drove across the Delaware River to New Jersey to prepare for her son’s birthday party. She was then pulled over for a traffic violation.
Upon being approached by the police officer, Allen presented her license, registration and carry permit and volunteered to the officer she was carrying a handgun. Not knowing that the state of New Jersey does not recognize out-of-state carry permits, she was promptly arrested and spent 46 days in jail, nearly losing both of her jobs, her home and her children in the process.
Allen has no prior criminal record, so her attorney, Evan Nappen, the top firearms attorney in NJ, petitioned for her to be enrolled in a diversionary program that allows first time offenders to avoid jail time and maintain a clean record at its conclusion. Unfortunately, New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain denied this request, and Superior Court Judge Michael Donio denied an appeal to overturn this decision. However, back in May, McClain and Donio allowed star NFL running back Ray Rice to enroll in this same program after he was charged with beating his wife unconscious in February.
New Jersey’s absurd gun laws unfairly punish law-abiding citizens, and hopefully cases like this one will exponentially increase the support for a proposed federal legislation that would mandate right-to-carry reciprocity among states. Nappen, like the rest of us, wants the jury to use simple common sense and invoke jury nullification. This is a constitutional doctrine that allows juries to exonerate defendants who are technically guilty but do not deserve to be punished. This would be a huge step toward federal reciprocity, as overdue as it may be.
Here is a link to a great video that explains it in even more detail.
Shaneen Allen Video