Hypocrisy and idiocy abound in New Jersey:
When Ray Rice beat his wife unconscious in an elevator, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain agreed to put him in a diversion program for 1st-time offenders to keep him out of jail. But when Pennsylvania single mom Shaneen Allen was pulled over for a traffic violation and volunteered to a New Jersey police officer that she was carrying a legally-owned handgun with a Pennsylvania permit, the response of Donis and McClain was to deny her the same opportunity as Rice.
Allen lives in Philadelphia, right across the river from New Jersey. She has a Pennsylvania permit to carry a handgun. She thought it was recognized in New Jersey, just as it is recognized in over 30 other states. She was wrong. When she told the officer that she had the gun, she was arrested.
Now she faces a felony conviction and a mandatory 42 months in prison. Both Donio and McClain have been unwilling to dismiss the charges, or send Allen to a pretrial diversion program. They seem to want to make an example of her.
The problem is, she’s being punished for something the Constitution says — and the Supreme Court has agreed — is a constitutional right. And the super-stiff penalties and abusive prosecution she’s experiencing are pretty clearly intended to chill people from exercising that right. The Washington Post’s Radley Balko quotes anti-gun activist Bryan Miller gloating over this result: “Fortunately, the notoriety of this case will make it less likely Pennsylvanians will carry concealed and loaded handguns in New Jersey, thereby making them and the Garden State safer from gun violence.”
Well, no. Shaneen Allen wasn’t committing gun violence, and civilians with gun permits are a very law-abiding bunch, who have passed a background check and undergone training; no sensible state would want to discourage them from visiting.
New Jersey Superior Court Judge Michael Donio and New Jersey District Attorney Jim McClain apparently care far more about protecting domestic violence-prone NFL millionaires than they do young mothers attempting to protect themselves and their children from violence.
Both men are a disgrace to their profession, and to the very concept of justice.
Professor Glenn Reynolds suggests (at the link) that Congress could pass a law, “providing that when people who may legally own guns under federal law are charged with possessing or carrying them in violation of state law, the maximum penalty should be a fine of no more than $500.”
Considering the prosecutorial malpractice underway in the Allen case by anti-gun activists masquerading as a judge and district attorney, I think that Second Amendment-supporting politicians in the U.S. House and Senate should begin crafting stand-alone legislation deemed “Shaneen’s Law” immediately.
The incident is also a start reminder of why we need uniform concealed carry reciprocity, so that concealed carry permits from any state are honored in any other state like drivers licenses must be.