Judge refuses to drop gun charges against Philly woman: Is she a criminal?
By now you’ve heard the story of Shaneen Allen, the mother of two, who works 2 jobs, one as a phlebotomist requiring her to work late hours. Having been mugged in her South Philly neighborhood, she was advised to get a gun to protect herself.
And seeing is how Pennsylvania is a “shall issue” state, meaning she was given a license to carry a concealed weapon once she passed the required background check – does this make her a criminal?
Not in Pennsylvania. She’s merely a private citizen with no criminal record trying to protect herself – again, after having been mugged and needing the gun for protection.
However, once she crosses the state line into New Jersey with said gun and a case of hollow point bullets – during a traffic stop, she tells the cop that stopped her that she had the gun in her car (according to one report – another states she had it in her purse) – she now faces 3 years minimum in jail.
You see, you cannot cross the state line into New Jersey while carrying a fully licensed concealed weapon. There is no federal reciprocity – which in my mind there should be.
Just like there is if you carry a drivers license – which by the way is not a right.
Some are saying that “ignorance of the law is no excuse”.
And a judge in Atlantic County tends to agree.
"This is someone who should not be turned into a felon and sent to state prison and have her destroyed because she made a mistake and committed a victimless crime," Nappen said.
Assistant Prosecutor Deborah Hay though, thought otherwise and wants to use this case as a deterrent for similar activity. Hay believes the case is "too serious to warrant divergence" to the intervention program.
In response to this, albeit a bit too late, is Assemblyman Ron Dancer, wants to change the gun laws so that judges would have wider discretion in cases such as this if they meet 3 requirements. Dancer had this to say:
“Number one, the individual would have no criminal record. Number two, the individual would have no known association or affiliation with any street gangs and number three, the individual must be in compliance with its home state gun laws,” Dancer explained.
So just to be clear, here’s a woman with no criminal record carrying a gun to protect herself who made the mistake of being honest with a police officer in saying she had a gun and a carry permit from outside New Jersey.
Because of this, she faces 3 years in jail and possibly the loss of her career which could possibly make her dependent on the state for assistance.
Where are you, Governor Christie?
(Gotta wonder if he'd give the same answer to her as he did to a caller asking him his stance on red light cameras. Something like: if you don't want a ticket - then don't run red lights!")
What do you feel should happen to Shaneen Allen?