27-year-old Shaneen Allen, of Philadelphia, followed the advice of family members and took a gun safety course as part of her efforts to become legally able to have a concealed to carry gun permit. After going through the proper procedures, Allen was granted the permit and purchased a gun.
“One of my family members, he thought it was appropriate for me to get one because I’m a single mother and I have two children and I work two jobs and I work late and getting up at that time of night I got robbed twice last year and he felt the need for me to get my license to protect me and my kids,” Allen explained.
But Allen now faces a mandatory sentence of three years in jail, because although she is able to carry in Philly, she made the mistake of crossing into NJ with the weapon in her car. According to Allen she didn’t know her permit didn’t apply to New Jersey, but when she was stopped by cops for a minor traffic offense, she let them know she had a gun.
“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.
Allen was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon and possession of hallow-point bullets which were in the gun. Under New Jersey gun laws, the illegal possession of a gun is a second-degree felony which holds a minimum sentence of three-years in prison.
Allen’s Attorney Evan Nappen feels that the judge doesn’t have a lot of discretion in this particular case.
“We’re talking about a law-abiding, licensed person who did nothing wrong. She is now facing three-years minimum mandatory, where the judge has no discretion, in state’s prison,” he said.
Allen has no criminal record and only owned the gun for a week. So far the Atlantic County Prosecutor has denied her entry into a diversionary program that would allow her to avoid jail time.
Here’s to being honest, and the cops and judges condoning the fact that she should have lied. Gotta love NJ.