Shaneen Allen is a 27-year-old single mother from Philadelphia with two children. She works two jobs to support her family. After being robbed twice in the past year, she decided to take the advice of one of her family members and obtain a concealed carry permit and purchase a gun.
According to FoxNews.com, Allen was pulled over by police in New Jersey’s Atlantic County on the early morning hours of Oct. 1 of last year after making an unsafe lane change. She informed the officer that she had a Bersa Thunder .380 handgun, as well as a concealed carry permit for the state of Pennsylvania.
Unfortunately, her Philadelphia concealed carry permit was not valid in New Jersey. As a result, Allen — who has no criminal record — was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of hollow-point bullets. If convicted, she faces a mandatory minimum sentence of three years in prison.
“The gun charge was not proper to begin with at all,” her attorney, Evan Nappen, told FoxNews.com. “She made an honest mistake.”
Nappen told the National Review that the situation was “the most technical of errors. She thought her permit was treated like a driver’s license and was valid everywhere. And why wouldn’t you?”
Nappen argues that the gun laws in New Jersey do not allow for any leeway for instances such as these.
“New Jersey’s draconian and crazy gun laws gives the judge no discretion here — none,” Nappen continued. “You will get three years with no chance of parole if you’re convicted of this gun charge. So in the effort of promoting gun control in New Jersey, they’ve created a situation where very sympathetic people get harmed and turned into the victim by gun laws.”
Nappen said that Allen had only owned the gun for approximately one week before her arrest.
“The officer knew there was a gun there, she was completely honest and open,” he continued. “There’s no aggravating factors in this case; she’s a single mom of two, working in the medical field who was robbed twice and that’s what inspired her to get a gun license in the first place.”
Allen said she was told being honest landed her in trouble.
“The judge tried to tell me that telling the truth messed me up, my life up and the cop said the same thing. Me opening my mouth and speaking out he said I’m one out of ten people that spoke up and was honest and that got me in trouble,” she said.
John Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, is speaking out in defense of Allen.
“These mandatory sentences sometimes create really unfortunate results,” Lott told FoxNews.com. “My own academic research indicates that Ms. Allen is the type of person who benefits the most from having permitted concealed handguns: a minority woman who lives in high-crime urban areas. The people who are most likely to be victims of crime are the ones who benefit the most from having a gun for protection. In addition, women benefit much more than men do because they tend to be much weaker physically than their attackers.”
As FoxNews.com reports, Allen has a pre-trial conference scheduled for Aug. 5. Prosecutor James McClain declined to comment on the matter.
Read more: http://www.my9nj.com
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