Shaneen Allen has, thankfully, received a reprieve, reports  Allen is the Philadelphia-area nurse who, after being mugged in the course of the odd hours her job demands, sought and obtained a license to carry a concealed firearm.

Philadelphia, of course, is only a bridge-crossing away from New Jersey, a state far more parsimonious in its recognition of our Second Amendment rights.  And that’s where Ms. Allen got into trouble.

While driving in New Jersey, just over the Delaware, Allen was pulled over for an “unsafe lane change.” In obtaining her concealed carry permit she had been instructed that if she were ever pulled over while in possession of her licensed firearm she should inform the officer of both her license and her handgun.  Perhaps good advice for someone possessing a Pennsylvania license and pulled over in Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately, unlike driver’s licenses, concealed carry permits are not automatically recognized by other states.  There must generally be some formal agreement in place between the states, or a broad statutory provision allowing for such recognition.

New Jersey has none of these.  As a result, unknown to Allen, her Philadelphia concealed carry permit was worthless in New Jersey. She may as well have not had a permit at all, as far as the Garden State was concerned.

Now, most people in such circumstances who have a clean criminal record, and obviously are not engaged in criminal activity, are put by New Jersey into a pre-trial intervention program.  This is precisely the same program into which the Atlantic City area prosecutor placed football player Ray Rice after a video emerged showing him knocking his wife unconscious with a single punch to the head.  (This despite the fact that acts of domestic violence almost never qualify for pre-trial intervention.)

This same prosecutor, however, decided that the nurse from Philadelphia who made an honest mistake, had an unblemished record, and was the mother of two small children, should be denied pre-trial intervention and under the facts of the case be forced to do the mandatory minimum three years in prison for felony possession of a firearm.  This would also necessarily have cost Allen her nursing career.

It was an outrageous decision, and a lot of static was directed at presumed Presidential-hopeful New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Finally, word emerged today that Ms. Allen will be allowed to participate in the pre-trial intervention program after all.  One wonders what pressure was finally brought to bear to drive this decision, but whatever the case it is the proper result.

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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