How much does one have to support a particular, partisan political issue that would allow one to throw a normally, law abiding citizen, the mother of two young children, guilty of, primarily, being honest, into jail? I’d say, the answer to that is, an awful lot—with an emphasis on, awful. Many New Jersey politicians are victims of a syndrome: Gun Derangement.
The October edition of America’s 1st Freedom magazine, published by the NRA, features Shaneen Allen: Is Shaneen Allen the Victim of State-Sponsored Persecution? In order to protect her family, after being robbed twice in a month, Allen purchased a firearm for self-defense. She completed a handgun safety course and then obtained a Pennsylvania license to carry a concealed weapon. During the handgun safety course, Allen had been instructed that if stopped by law enforcement, notify the officer of the permit and gun in your possession.
About a week after obtaining the permit, Allen, an honest woman trying to be a responsible gun owner, was stopped by the police for a minor traffic infraction. Unfortunately, she wasn’t stopped in Pennsylvania, or in one of thirty other states with reciprocity concealed carry laws—she was stopped in the gun-hating state of New Jersey.
Rather than recognize this as the honest error it was, a New Jersey state trooper chose to arrest the Pennsylvania mother of two young children, essentially, for being honest. Had she not mentioned the gun, the trooper would never have known, and after receiving a ticket, Allen would have been on her way. As a police officer, I always appreciated when CCW holders informed me they were armed. And though this courtesy is a safety issue for both the officer and the citizen, I’m not sure honesty, at least about guns in states like New Jersey, is the best policy.
Had Allen been dishonest, or at least less responsible and not told the trooper, she wouldn’t be suffering this persecution. Police officers acting in contravention of America’s traditions, such as contained in the Second Amendment is a story in itself. I wrote long ago in my police guild newspaper that I, as a police officer, would never violate any law-abiding citizen’s Second Amendment rights. I would have resigned first. I’d like to see every police officer in America make a similar promise.
So, for being honest, and having made an honest mistake, Allen has already spent 46 days in jail and could get forty-two months in prison if convicted. I’ve dealt with real criminals who hadn’t spent nearly that amount of time in jail for doing much, much worse.
Adding insult to injury, New Jersey prosecutors have not allowed Allen to take advantage of a program seemingly devised exactly for those making mistakes or errors in judgment, as in her case. As the NRA article by Ginny Simone makes clear, “… the state’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI) designed for first-time offenders who make non-violent mistakes, like Allen.” And, adding injury to insult, New Jersey prosecutors allowed Baltimore Ravens’ player Ray Rice to take advantage of this program, despite the fact that his crime, savagely assaulting his (now) wife, which was caught on a now infamous video, was undeniably violent. No violence, nor intent to commit any criminal act, was apparently involved in Allen’s actions.
It seems a trite commentary to wonder how the New Jersey prosecutors working on this case can sleep at night, but I truly have to wonder. For a responsible American citizen, who has a Second Amendment, constitutional right to keep and bear arms, no different than her First, Fourth or any other right, to be slammed into jail and then be persecuted, simply for attempting to exercise that right, should embarrass New Jersey’s gun-derangement crowd right down to their freedom-usurping souls.