The story of Shaneen Allen’s arrest and incarceration in New Jersey for 48 days is famous in the firearms community, and over the Christmas weekend, her experience has suddenly become interesting to the press.
Allen, a single mother who had gone through all the hoops to obtain a carry permit in her neighboring Pennsylvania, was arrested in October 2013 when she was pulled over on a routine traffic stop after crossing into New Jersey. Honesty got the better of her when she advised the officer that her handgun was in her purse.
Had it not been for a pardon by Gov. Chris Christie – under heavy pressure from gun owners all over the country – Allen could have faced more jail time, and was admitted to a pre-trial intervention program in the Garden State. The pardon came almost two years later when Christie was, as noted by NJ.com, “gearing up for his failed presidential run.”
If Christie was fishing for the gun owner vote, his bait had already soured.
Allen’s story is getting attention now because she has become a prominent advocate for the national concealed carry reciprocity bill. Passed by the House earlier this month, the bill is now in the Senate, where it faces tough sledding.
For gun prohibitionists, and the 17 anti-gun Democratic State attorneys general who oppose the reciprocity measure (23 Republican attorneys general support it), Allen could easily become a poster child for victims of harsh state gun laws like those in New Jersey that could be affected by passage of the reciprocity bill.
The measure alarms the gun prohibition lobby. Anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety has been crusading against the bill for months, raising money via hysteria-laden email appeals.
The Allen case is not unique, but it carries more than a hint of bad news for anti-gun Democrats. Allen, according to the story circulated over the weekend, switched from being a Democrat to a Republican. She voted for Donald Trump rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton. She represents an almost unassailable spokeswoman for Second Amendment rights because she is: a) a woman, b) African-American, c) a single mom, d) a law-abiding citizen ensnared by an extremist gun control law that has been trouble for other people from other states passing through New Jersey.
She can also articulate her story, as proven by her appearance in late September at the annual Gun Rights Policy Conference in Dallas.
The reciprocity measure, if passed, will likely bring legal challenges from New Jersey and other anti-gun states. Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson, who has made a habit of suing the Trump administration, might not miss such an opportunity.
Reciprocity would pit states’ rights against federal law, but this might make for an uncomfortable situation for Ferguson, who has so far not made any effort to protect the gun rights of Evergreen State citizens who might be medical marijuana users. Washington allows medical and even recreational marijuana use, but federal law prohibits gun possession by anyone using a controlled substance.
It may be instructional to watch Democrat members of the Senate squirm around Allen’s case, especially if she is allowed to testify during any kind of public hearing on reciprocity. Meanwhile, since those senators are all home for the holidays, now might be a good time for reciprocity advocates to be asking their two senators about this legislation.