Fox News extensively quoted CPRC president John Lott about the tragic story of a young mother who ran afoul of New Jersey gun laws. On October 1st, Shaneen Allen, 27, was stopped by police in New Jersey’s Atlantic County after making an unsafe lane change. Allen then volunteered that she had the .380 Bersa Thunder handgun, as well as a concealed carry permit for Pennsylvania, unaware that her permit was not transferable to The Garden State. The judge in the case indicated that Allen was only in trouble because of her honesty and that she had no intent on breaking the law.
From Fox News:
John Lott, Jr., president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, said the case was similar to that of Brian Aitken, a New Jersey man whose seven-year prison sentence was eventually commuted by Gov. Chris Christie.
In early 2009, Aitken moved back to New Jersey from Colorado to be closer to his young son and estranged wife. A planned visit with his son was canceled at the last minute and his mother, who was concerned for his safety, called the police. A subsequent search of his car by officers revealed two locked and unloaded handguns in the trunk, both of which were purchased legally in Colorado.
Aitken’s father, Larry, told FoxNews.com at the time that he refused to see his son lost in the patchwork of state gun laws throughout the country.
“I don’t think there are words yet invented that could characterize the — I guess anger would be one word, but it’s a lot deeper than anger,” Larry Aitken told FoxNews.com in 2010. “Whatever the word is that’s a combination of anger, shock, disbelief, horror and a desire to expose all of this — that’s the word.”
Lott, meanwhile, said he hopes “something similar” happens in Allen’s case, adding that she clearly did not intend to commit any crime.
“These mandatory sentences sometimes create really unfortunate results,” Lott continued. “My own academic research indicates that Ms. Allen is the type of person who benefits the most from having permitted concealed handguns: a minority woman who lives in high-crime urban areas. The people who are most likely to be victims of crime are the ones who benefit the most from having a gun for protection. In addition, women benefit much more than men do because they tend to be much weaker physically than their attackers.” . . .
Fox News had a follow article on the case:
Allen, who has no prior criminal record, said she acquired the gun legally just a week prior to her arrest. She was headed to Atlantic City, N.J., in the early-morning hours to prepare for her son’s birthday party, which was being held three days later.
“I was bringing a cake and the dog to the hotel room to surprise him,” she said. “That’s what I was doing out there and I got pulled over at 1 in the morning because I was sleepy and I swerved.”
Allen purchased the gun for protection after being robbed twice in the past year, she said, adding that she never even fired it and feels somewhat snake-bitten by the entire ordeal.
“It’s definitely a freak thing,” she said. “I was trying to do a good thing and it turned out so bad — and just like that. I don’t know how to explain it, I really don’t.”
Allen reiterated that she immediately told the officer she had a gun in her 2007 Chevrolet sedan, as well as a concealed carry permit for neighboring Pennsylvania. . . .