I just spoke with Shaneen Allen’s lawyer, Evan Nappen, who had fantastic news for me: The prosecutor in Atlantic County has relented, and Shaneen Allen will be admitted into a pre-trial intervention (PTI) program. In consequence, she will avoid jail time, a felony conviction, and the destruction of her life.
Allen, a single mother of two, had been threatened with up to ten years in prison after she drove from her home state of Pennsylvania into neighboring New Jersey with a concealed handgun in her purse. Allen had thought that her Pennsylvania concealed-carry permit was accepted in New Jersey. When she was pulled over for a minor traffic offense, she discovered that it was not. Inexplicably, the prosecutor, James McClain, had sought to punish her to the fullest extent of the law. Today, he changed his mind.
Moreover, New Jersey’s attorney general has agreed to clarify the PTI rules, thereby making it clear that the program should be available to those in Allen’s position. This is a considerable triumph of commonsense over zealotry, and a step forward for New Jersey, which has some of the worst firearms laws in the country. Nobody should have his or her life ruined for a simple mistake — especially while exercising a basic constitutional right. Shaneen Allen is free. Now to change the laws . . .