Last year, New Jersey police arrested a 27 year old law-abiding citizen (and mother of two) from Pennsylvania for driving while carrying a concealed weapon. Shaneen Allen, who held no previous criminal record, was pulled over by a New Jersey State Police Officer on October the 1st while driving to Atlantic City. The seemingly routine check-up quickly turned sour when Shaneen Allen told the police officer that she was carrying a firearm using her Philadelphia license-to-carry permit. Apparently, New Jersey gun laws do not recognize such permits issued by other states (a detail Shaneen Allen, and most citizens, are not aware of). The officer arrested Shaneen for unlawful possession of a weapon and hollow-point bullets. And just like that, her routine trip to Atlantic City with the father of her two children turned into a nightmare where Shaneen faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 and ½ years of jail time. We will examine the background and facets regarding the Pennsylvania Citizen Arrested For Breaking New Jersey Gun Control Laws.
This woman’s story quickly gained national attention. Evan Nappen, her attorney, argues that her case is proof that the New Jersey gun laws are “out of control.” Gun control in Pennsylvania is much more reasonable than gun control in New Jersey. Shaneen Allen’s sole mistake was that she innocently assumed the national legislation would be coherent enough not to cause her any undeserved trouble. This story created a bit of deserved public outrage and a new debate on gun ownership around the country.
The verdict for Allen’s case has yet to be revealed. She will stand trial this October after she turned down a guilty plea that would have sent her to prison for 3 and ½ years. Allen and her lawyer hope that a jury will approach the case with more understanding considering the severity of her jail sentence. The state of New Jersey scheduled her trial for October the 6th, 2014. We and the rest of the country will wait and hope that no jury could unreasonable enough as to convict her. Probably the most disturbing aspect of this story is that such a dramatic event could happen to any citizen who carries a legally concealed firearm from one state to the other. These ridiculous obstructions of justice will continue as long as gun control laws vary so dramatically from one state to another.
The national attention attracted by this case spurred lobby groups to become involved in both sides of the debate. On the right wing side, gun rights groups argue that the conviction is preposterous and will destroy the life of an innocent mother (along with her entire family). On the other side, anti-gun activists view this trial as a welcome warning to all individuals who choose to carry guns. For example, Bryan Miller, the executive of the faith-based anti-gun group Heading God’s Call, welcomed the notoriety of the case. He believes it will prevent more legal permit owners from states with lax carry laws from carrying their firearms into states like New Jersey. Lobby groups from both political sides have been very active in this case. But, we here at GunSmithU feel relieved that the public opinion seems to favor Shaneen Allen. Regardless of your view on gun control, Shaneen remains an innocent mother caught up in the mess of gun control in the US. As her attorney noted, no one should want to see a mother of two behind bars. Some people orchestrated a campaign to raise money for her legal defense. The donations have been generous.
The New Jersey gun laws are known for their highly restrictive character, especially since the official Ceasefire NJ campaign. Gun control activists hoped to discourage the gun ownership completely as a way of preventing future shootings. In this context, an unsuspecting citizen coming from a state with lax gun control laws, like Shaneen Allen, risk stepping into a territory where her law-abiding behavior is suddenly illegal. Hopefully, justice will prevail following this upcoming October trial.
If you live in the State of New Jersey and are interested in the practice of gun smithing, we’ve compiled a list of places surrounding the state where you could take courses/become certified in the art. Check it out: