On April 2, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie pardoned Philadelphia nurse and mother Shaneen Allen, ending her year-and-a-half-long legal battle with the Garden State.
Back in October 2013, Allen was arrested in Atlantic County, N.J. following a traffic stop during which she voluntarily informed a law enforcement officer that she was carrying a firearm. Allen mistakenly thought that her Pennsylvania Right-to-Carry permit would be recognized in New Jersey.
Initially, Atlantic County Prosecutor Jim McClain sought to prosecute Allen to the full extent of the law, at which point Allen faced a minimum three-year prison term and a felony conviction on her record. After a national public outcry, Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman revised state policy regarding certain technical firearm violations. This change prompted Prosecutor McClain to allow Allen to enter into New Jersey’s Pretrial Intervention Program (PTI), which requires enrollees to engage in supervised “rehabilitation” but allows them to avoid a criminal conviction. With Christie’s pardon, Allen will not have to continue with the PTI program and will be able to move onto the next chapter of her life free from any record of her harrowing experience.
Unfortunately, scores of other mistaken Right-to-Carry permit holders are ensnared by the laws of restrictive jurisdictions every year while traveling, and most of the time pardons are not forthcoming. This is why NRA is working with our friends in Congress to enact National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity legislation (see related story).
This proposed legislation would require states to recognize each other's Right-to-Carry permits, much like they do driver’s licenses, allowing the permit holder to exercise their Right-to-Carry in any state they choose to visit. The Senate version, S.498, is sponsored by Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and is called the Constitutional Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2015. Currently there are three different versions of this legislation making their way through the house, H.R.923, H.R.986, and H.R.402.
NRA urges all gun owners to contact their U.S. Senators and U.S. Representatives to support this important legislation, by calling (202) 224-3121, or by writing using NRA-ILA’s website.
It is NRA’s hope that in the future, miscarriages of justice like Allen’s and the scores of others that go unreported will be averted by a coherent national Right-to-Reciprocity standard.