For this week’s Freedom Friday, we are happy to share that New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, has issued a full pardon to Shaneen Allen.
Allen, a Pennsylvania resident, was in possession of a firearm for which she held a valid and legal conceal carry permit from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Her crime was crossing the Delaware River into New Jersey, home of some of the strictest gun laws.
At a traffic stop, Allen informed the officer that she had a firearm in the car which she was licensed to carry. This triggered her arrest, 40 days in jail, loss of her job, and perhaps most devastatingly, the loss of custody of her children. Due to New Jersey’s Byzantine gun control laws, which some gun control activists continue to push for, Allen would also face felony charges preventing her from owning a firearm in the future as well as a mandatory minimum 3 year prison sentence.
All for exercising what is a black-letter right guaranteed by the Constitution via the 2nd Amendment. In addition to this right, the Constitution requires states to give “full faith and credit…to the public acts, records, and judicial proceedings of every other state.” This should certainly apply to the permitting process whereby states allow law-abiding citizens the right to “conceal carry” firearms.
Allen’s situation is not isolated. And many law-abiding citizens can find themselves in a similar predicament and be victim to overzealous prosecutors and a patchwork of state agreements making a gun permit of one state accepted in a collection of others. To know every possible permutation of what states honor which other states’ permits, you need an interactive map, like this one.
No state has the right to unleash this kind of prosecutorial terrorism on law-abiding citizens. That goes for those who hold the legal right to possess a firearm, and are visiting their state, as well as their own citizens. We prefer to leave it to states to run their own affairs, but each state admitted to the Union shares one federal Constitution. And that Constitution guarantees citizens the right to keep and bear arms.
We tip our hat to the governor of New Jersey and hope that Shaneen Allen’s story will become a call for other states having similar over-the-top gun control laws, like New Jersey (we’re looking at you, Maryland!), to reform their criminal codes to decriminalize the lawful exercise of Constitutional rights!