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Exclusive: Garden State Gun Criminal

New Jersey is going full bore to prosecute a lawbreaker arrested for possessing a handgun loaded with hollowpoint ammunition in violation of state law. Evidently this person is so dangerous that entry into a diversionary program is off the table, and instead, a mandatory minimum 3-year prison sentence will be imposed if a felony conviction is obtained, something that seems probable at this writing.

How that will benefit the people of New Jersey is unclear. Rather than being a criminal intent on victimizing others, 27-year-old Shaneen Allen of Philadelphia is a working single-mother of two young children and a Pennsylvania concealed carry permit holder, someone who had just recently obtained her gun and her permit after being robbed twice.

She was pulled over in neighboring New Jersey on a minor traffic violation.

“Allen then told the officer that she had the .380 Bersa Thunder handgun, as well as a concealed carry permit for Pennsylvania, unaware that her permit was not transferable to The Garden State,” Fox News reported.

Even though her home state does not mandate a duty to inform if lawfully carrying concealed, Allen felt she had nothing to hide, and was trying to establish herself as a good person by being cooperative with law enforcement. Readers who may feel a similar impulse would benefit from finding a video on the internet titled “Don’t Talk to the Police,” a lecture by Regent Law School Professor James Duane, who cites all the reasons why doing so won’t help but can and will be used against you.

Informing on herself was one mistake Allen made, but not the main reason many gun owners have faulted her.

“That’s tough and New Jersey sucks, but it’s her responsibility to know and abide by state laws,” was a common online comment criticism.

Forget The Constitution?

Perhaps it’s a fair one, but then again, perhaps those making it are focusing on gun-grabber technicalities while ignoring a larger offense: The Constitution, “the supreme Law of the Land,” defines powers of government established, among its basic purposes, “to secure the Blessings of Liberty.” Before it was ratified, states fearing abuses insisted on a Bill of Rights, including the Second Amendment’s clear off-limits rule that “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

OK, but that was in response to federal abuses of power. What about New Jersey?

We’ve seen confirmation in the Heller and McDonald Supreme Court decisions that the Second Amendment is an individual right, and that states may not ignore it any more than they have power to cancel the First Amendment. We can also consult William Rawle, a lawyer, a Pennsylvanian, and a favorite of George Washington, whose A View of the Constitution of the United States of America was a standard text in the early to mid-19th Century for those studying law at prestigious colleges.

Restraint On Both

“No clause in the Constitution could by any rule of construction be conceived to give the Congress a power to disarm the people,” Rawle wrote. “Such a flagitious attempt could only be made under a general pretense by a state legislature. But if in any pursuit of an inordinate power either should attempt it, this amendment may be appealed to as a restraint on both.”

Not that appeals to founding intent are likely to be persuasive on ambitious Garden State prosecutors. Nor, evidently, will appeals to basic humanity and decency work on judges where mandatory sentences are involved.

As a recent gun owner, Allen’s apparent assumption her concealed carry permit, like her Pennsylvania driver’s license, would be honored everywhere, may seem hopelessly naïve to those who would rather put the blame on her than on draconian edicts that deny supposedly unalienable rights. But the fear of gun owners running afoul of regional restrictions is exactly the reason behind state preemption of firearms laws, so that good citizens don’t get caught up in a patchwork quilt of conflicting regulations whenever they cross an arbitrary boundary line.

Just 100 Feet

This seems like a good time to share a personal experience from a few months back, when I was invited by the Connecticut Citizens Defense League to give the keynote speech at their annual gun rights rally at the Statehouse in Hartford. On the drive there from Ohio, I crossed the Neversink River, marking the Pennsylvania/New York border, and noticed it was time to fill the tank. Taking the first exit, I proceeded to the nearest gas station, a mere few hundred feet down the road, and was stopped when I tried to use the pump.

“This is New Jersey, you can’t do that here,” an attendant who ran up to my car informed me. I had no idea, both about a stupid law that says people suddenly become dangerously incompetent and in need of trained professional gas-pumping assistance because an invisible line has been crossed, or that I had even crossed such a line. If there’s a “Welcome to New Jersey” sign between the off ramp and the CITGO, I sure missed it.
That means I could have been unwittingly in violation of New Jersey gun laws as well. And I’m hardly a novice like Allen.

I would not count on federal interstate transportation of firearms laws saving me either, recalling a traveler who found himself in a nightmare legal situation after a flight delay at Newark Airport. He committed the unforgiveable sin of taking his checked bag with declared firearms to his hotel for an overnight stay while awaiting the next flight. And for those just driving though, New Jersey makes the experience as restrictive as they can get away with.

Republican Governor Chris Christie, never a friend of gun owners but someone who has made occasional moderate concessions, has been silent on Allen’s case to date. While there are limits on what power he actually has before a trial and conviction, aside from using the bully pulpit of his office to decry injustice and demand legislative changes, there is the possibility he could commute any sentence. He did that in the earlier case of Brian Aitken, convicted for having guns that were legally purchased in Colorado in his car trunk when he moved to New Jersey.

Unfortunately, a commuted sentence is not the same thing as a pardon, and like Aitken, Allen could become a prohibited person, forever barred by law from owing a gun for protection of herself and her family. All for crossing a line, making a mistake and trying to be honest with a police officer.

If there’s any silver lining, it’s that Allen’s attorney is Evan Nappen, an authority on New Jersey gun laws, and the same lawyer who ably represented Aitken. Meanwhile, Republican Assemblyman Ronald Dancer has introduced “Shaneen’s Law,” a bill giving judges discretion to avoid mandatory sentences. Also coming to her assistance is the statewide grassroots group, the New Jersey Second Amendment Society, which is conducting a public education campaign to spread awareness of her plight utilizing billboards, the media and the internet, and a Shaneen Allen Legal Defense Fund has been established.

This young woman cannot be what the public had in mind when politicians falsely promised “gun control” would reduce violent crime. Separating this mother from her children and declaring her a “gun criminal” is in the interests of no one but the subversive and the depraved.

You’ll notice none of them have come forward to object to Shaneen’s plight.
By David Codrea

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  1. windsailor says:

    The intent of most firearms laws is to slowly eradicate the 2nd amendment, otherwise laws would be written allowing judicial judgement. Of course, the criminal never worries about the possibility of getting caught and so ignores applicable laws proving the legislature’s real intention is neutering the 2nd amendment since they can’t eliminate a Constitutional Right.

  2. Matt Zublic says:

    I disagree with the author. By passing gun control laws to usurp the constitution and denying an enumerated right, legislators know exactly who the laws affect – citizens – and they don’t care.

  3. Leftist Hypocrisy says:

    Great article. Where are all of the leftists, professional race hustlers, Hollywood types, media figures, etc who take dubious causes involving minorities as proof of evil white racism? This actually would make a great case for that line of thinking, but it won’t be mentioned because they don’t want blacks arming themselves and not being dependent on the state. So in a way, it is just like the old Jim Crow laws that progressives supported that disarmed non-whites. Heck, the Jim Crow laws on pistol purchases are still on the book in North Carolina!

  4. NaJoisey is a cesspit. No one with an ounce of ethics or reason voluntarily goes there. That includes their Governor.

  5. All self-defense advocates need to understand the power of Jury Nullification. It is our final, peaceful check against unjust laws. Visit http://www.fija.org for more info.

  6. Dan Biringer says:

    For the life of me, I don’t understand why doesn’t the Governor step in and inject a little common sense? Maybe it doesn’t fit the “moderate” position he’s crafting for the up coming Presidental race.

  7. Ryan Jairam says:

    This tragedy is not at all uncommon. The sad thing is that Gov Christie will do little beyond a sentence commutation, like he did with Brian Aitken. The right thing to do would be to repeal the graves act, make NJ SHALL ISSUE and then look to grant reciprocity to other states.

  8. Great article.
    JURY NULLIFICATION.

  9. Sorry but like many have already said, you should know the laws of the states you travel through. Even as a sheriff’s officer when I go to another state on personal business I call ahead to the town I am going to and ask if there are any laws I need to know about, or if I should just leave my gun home. Pennsylvanians aren’t very smart to begin with, so I am not surprised by this story. I don’t think she should do time in jail, but a nice heavy fine would work. What the hell do you need hollow points for in the first place? You planning on shooting a cop through a vest?

    • You don’t know anything about guns do you?

    • Hollow points are not armor piercing.
      You don’t know much especially for a sheriffs officer.
      It is impossible to know all the laws because there are so many and they are interpreted differently by different people even lawyers.
      Gun laws are written to entrap innocent people not to stop criminals since they just ignore any and all laws that they choose to.

    • Sorry Joe, but I doubt you are LE, and if you are, you are woefully ignorant about firearms in general and those dreadful hollow points in specific.

      Hollow points are not anymore capable, and in fact are probably less capable of penetrating ballistic body armor. If you were LE you’d know that…and if you were LE you’d know most departments issue hollow points. Even NJ cops carry hollow point ammunition.

    • If I were to take your comment at face value:

      Could be different in your neck of the woods, but around the country, the only Sheriff’s Office types I’ve heard refer to themselves as “sheriff’s officer” were limited authority COs working the jail.

      Hollow points tend to dissipate energy into tissue better than FMJ/ball, making them better defense rounds.

      Since hollow points dump energy faster, they tend not to over-penetrate as much as FMJ. Among other things, that makes them much less likely to penetrate a ballistic vest than would NJ-legal FMJ. So you’ve pulled that argument out of your posterior cranial storage compartment.

      Seriously? You call EVERY freaking town in every state that you might pass through (or stop in for fuel) EVERY time you travel? And actually reach someone who claims to be providing you, a stranger on the phone, with complete, legally accurate information? Someone willing to take and answer that phone call?

      I take it back; I can’t accept your comment at face value, trollboy.

    • Hey, there mr sheriffs officer sir. Remember this little joke from that document you swore a sacred oath to uphold and defend?

      “Article IV, Section 1: Full faith and credit shall be given in each state to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records, and proceedings shall be proved, and the effect thereof.”

      Allen was investigated, trained, and licensed by the state of Philadelphia to carry a concealed weapon. Why should she assume that New Joisy is too stupid to follow the Constitution?

    • Pardon me, your ignorance is showing.

      Hollow points are made to limit penetration, keeping the bullet from passing through your intended target and hitting someone unintentionally. This makes them the exact of armor piercing. A police vest will more easily stop a hollow point than just about any other type of round.

    • “Pennsylvanians aren’t very smart to begin with,” that’s very nice. Oddly enough, I don’t thing sheriff’s deputies are very smart either. In fact, your next quote proves that very point: “What the hell do you need hollow points for in the first place? You planning on shooting a cop through a vest?” You don’t know much about the tools of your trade, do you? Hollow points won’t penetrate body armor (the correct term for “vest”) but that depends very much on the vest and the caliber of the round. As a general rule, however, hollow point bullets will not penetrate type IIIa body armor.

      I carry hollow point ammunition because it has more effective terminal balistics and is less likely to over-penetrate.

      I apologize for using big words.

      Russ

    • Cargosquid says:

      I call BS.

      Any Sheriff’s “officer” would know that hollow points are the very OPPOSITE of what one would use to penetrate a vest. In fact, they would know that most STANDARD, ball ammo for pistols would not penetrate a vest.

      Yes…the laws are stupid. And she should have known better. That is all the more reason to nullify them and get rid of them.

    • Hollow points shoot through vests???!?

      Who told you that?

      I use hollow points because they WON’T go through things and hit targets unintended.

    • You can’t be for real Joe.

      You think hollow-points are for the purpose of penetrating a vest?

      If you are really a sheriff’s officer you need some remedial training about firearms.

      Your stupidity is really showing.

    • Joe-You’re a sheriff’s ofc? That’a be scary, but i find it hard to believe. And you obviously know NOTHING about guns or ammo. Hollow point THROUGH a vest? there’s a reason they call them “flying ashtrays”.. they go thru very little, but they spread out for downing power.

  10. Mike Cumpston says:

    A legal defense fund was set up hoping to raise $25,000 by Mid October. As of September 3, this is what it looks like:
    1,524 backers

    Donated $55,061.76
    There are-41 Days to go
    Governor Family Guy will not intervene at this point but recent events make pardon very likely. This woman should not be going to trial and a law has just been introduced in the NH leg to factor in common sense in thing like this.
    Nobody knows how many liberoidal democrats pitched in to the legal defense fun but a very sound guess would be NONE>

  11. This would be a good time for some honest jury nullification in that state. Just sayin…

  12. Freedom to carry is being erased in the USA. My Family has fought for this country from the Revolutionary War to Now. We did this for freedom from tyranny and oppression. Rise up and let the Lawbreakers in Washington and elsewhere know that the Citizens of this great country will not take it anymore. Free Shaneen Allan!!!!!!!

  13. A disturbing aspect of this whole affair is that it seems the majority of police officers would have arrested her. Even the eminent Mas Ayoob admits he probably would have arrested her. A person in a position of authority who knows an action is wrong, but does it anyway, deserves condemnation.

    See it at this link, about the eighth or so comment up from the bottom:

    http://backwoodshome.com/blogs/MassadAyoob/2014/09/09/updates/#comments

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