A Philadelphia mom is facing over a decade in prison for carrying a firearm, even though she had a valid Concealed Carry permit.
27-year-old medical assistant Shaneen Allen had been previously robbed twice, and had legally obtained the Pennsylvania permit to protect herself and her two young boys.
As it was valid in over 30 other states, she assumed her license would apply in neighbouring New Jersey. When driving through the state last October, she was pulled over for allegedly unsafe lane change. She volunteered to the cop that she was armed at the time and had a legal permit, and even showed a purchase receipt.
Unfortunately this was not valid in New Jersey, a state with strict gun laws. She was handcuffed and spent 46 days in jail, has since been fired from her job, and is currently awaiting trial.
Superior Court Judge Michael Donio decided Allen was not covered by the gun amnesty period for the surrender of firearms in New Jersey that was ongoing at the time of her arrest.
The Atlantic County Prosecutor also denied Allen the Pre-Trial Intervention Program, which would have helped her avoid a criminal conviction and jail time. The same prosecutor had accepted NFL player Ray Rice onto the program after a violent assault charge. The judge refused to overrule this decision.
The prosecutor is then said to have offered Allen 5 years in prison with no option of parole for 3.5 years, in exchange for a guilty plea. Despite having no prior criminal record, and the fact that she owned her gun and had a valid permit, single mom Allen faced a minimum of 3 years in prison.
On Tuesday, Judge Donio was unforgiving and refused to dismiss the case. Allen now reportedly faces a maximum of 10 years in prison for possessing a concealed weapon, and an additional 18 months for possession of hollow-point bullets.
The case has since garnered the attention of national media outlets, and has been described as “an honest mistake” by Allen herself. Her sons face growing up without a present mother, and New Jersey’s gun laws are under national scrutiny.
The trial is scheduled for October 6th.