Pennsylvanian Shaneen Allen’s honesty already has led to 46 days of jail, and she could face a minimum of three years in prison.
As a single mother of two young children, she obtained a concealed-carry permit to protect her family after she had been robbed twice in the past year, according to a National Rifle Association report. A social outing took her across the border to New Jersey, where she was stopped by a state trooper for an alleged lane violation.
Following Pennsylvania law, she informed the officer of her carry permit, the NRA said. But New Jersey doesn’t recognize the weapon permits of other states, and she was handcuffed, shackled and jailed.
Her attorney, Evan Nappen, wondered: “Is New Jersey that superior to the rest of the Untied States, that their license is so sacred and sacrosanct, that they cannot recognize a single other license based on a Second Amendment right?”
New Jersey Assemblyman Michael Carroll, calling the state “freedom hell,” says the law is “insane.”
Prosecutors refused permission for Allen, a medical assistant, to enter a diversion program for first offenders, even though evidence showed she made an “honest mistake.”
“I have to worry about spending three years in state person without my kids. Where’s the justice in that?” Allen asked.
Her advocates say a federal law providing reciprocity for recognition of gun permits might be the only solution, since “New Jersey’s hopeless.”
Assemblyman Ron Dancer has introduced a bill that would give judges the option of lesser penalties for visitors who inadvertently violate state law.
He said it’s “unconscionable” that Allen faces “mandatory time in prison for telling the truth.”
“This is about justice and constitutional rights,” he said.