There will always be questions that beg to be pondered. We could start with two that are similar in comparison. Why does President Obama not make the small effort it would take to use his influence with the Mexican government to free U.S. Marine Sergeant Andrew Tahmooressi, who has been sitting in a Mexican jail for almost five months. His plight seems to be on the ignore list for the Obama administration. Nary a word from a President who bragged that we did not leave our people behind when he was espousing the virtues of trading five Taliban prisoners for Bowe Bergdahl. The man is likely a deserter from the United States Army, but President Obama moved a lot of hell and high water to bring him home. Why does he refuse to do the same to a Marine who has served his country with honor?
On the other hand, we have New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, a Republican who many say will run for President in 2016. While his fate in that little pilgrimage has yet to be decided, Christie holds the fate of someone else in his hands. Shaneen Allen is a 27-year-old single mother of two little boys who is facing prison time for making an honest mistake. You can read about her plight at the link. Without rehashing the entire story, suffice it to say this. She is a resident of Pennsylvania who was tired of being robbed. She applied for, and received, a permit to carry a concealed weapon. She had said weapon in her purse when she crossed into New Jersey. When she was stopped for an unsafe lane change, she told the officer she had the weapon and was arrested.
It was a simple and honest mistake. She thought she was legal and was attempting to abide by the law when she informed the officer of the weapon in her purse. For that, she is being punished and threatened with a prison sentence. From someone who has had absolutely no criminal record, Ms. Allen may change to a convicted felon for an honest mistake. Is that the way we want our justice system to work? I think not and Governor Christie has the power and the influence to keep it from happening.
Here is an update on Ms. Allen’s case. Evan F. Nappen is her attorney.
Human Events – When there are extenuating circumstances like in this case, a pre-trial intervention process diverts the case from the prosecutorial process to avoid trial, he said. “This keeps someone out of the system because they do not belong in the system.”
Nappen, who is the author of four gun rights book including New Jersey Gun Law, said Allen was also charged with criminal possession of hollow point bullets which is illegal in the state of New Jersey with some exceptions, such as possession in your home or possession to and from a gun range.
Atlantic County prosecutor James P. McClain and the judge rejected the pre-trial intervention process based on a county no-tolerance policy, he said.
“There are no more plea deals. The prosecutor’s best offer for Shaneen was five years in state prison with a minimum mandatory 3.5 years before parole.” Allen rejected the deal and the matter is scheduled for a jury trial.
“All the mitigating facts about her do not matter because the prosecutor has a policy,” said Nappen. “So what happens when facts do not matter we have injustice.”
There is supposedly a process in place to keep a case such as Shaneen Allen’s from unfolding into reality. The prosecutor and the judge had the chance to use that process, but declined to do so because they have a policy of no tolerance. It makes them sound tough on crime, but it’s bad news for a young woman who has committed a crime only in the very strictest of legal terms. No criminal intent or malice existed, but here we are. Chris Christie could intervene, but he has declined to do so, thus far. Why he has not would be a good question to ask. The article from Human Events has some thoughts on that from Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk Radio.
Tom Gresham, host of Gun Talk Radio, the first nationally syndicated live, radio, talk show covering the world of firearms, personal safety and gun rights, said that most people in the country will not believe this story. “They will think you are making it up, it is too absurd to even imagine.” Yet he said this happens all the time to unsuspecting citizens traveling with their legal firearms.
“These are known traps, not speed traps that you are going to get charged $200, these are traps waiting for the unwary where you end up being a felon and spend years in a penitentiary,” he said. “Appropriately legal back home but when you cross this imaginary line you suddenly became a felon.”
Prosecuting a mother who did not try to hide anything over a mistake is blatant government overreach and a waste of resources, he said. “Certainly we have serious criminals to deal with. Shaneen simply made a mistake – that’s all it was.”
New Jersey ignores federal law that says it is perfectly legal to go through a state with a firearm that is cased and unloaded, yet the typical reaction for New Jersey officials is to throw you in jail. “Even if one is doing everything according to the law, you can end up in prison.”
If Republican Christie really cared about gun rights, he would make a call to stop this nonsense, send the young lady home, said Gresham. “Christie is pretending to be a pro-gun person when he has always been anti-gun. Nobody is buying it.”
However with enough public pressure, Christie may use this opportunity to impress gun owners by turning things around, he said. “When they feel the heat they see the light.”
These draconian gun laws indicate a mindset in the New Jersey legislature that firearms are of no legitimate use, he said. “It shows utter contempt for citizens; it is dripping with contempt.”
As well, it is at odds with the Second Amendment and the most recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions relating to firearms, added Gresham. “This is a state government that says if you own these things without saying ‘Mother may I?’ we will throw you in prison.”
Anti-gunners show an utter contempt for 100 million people who own guns, he said. “Once you understand that they do not dislike guns, they dislike owners; it all starts to make sense. It’s not the guns they do not like it’s us.”
Governor Chris Christie came on the scene when he took over in New Jersey and was more than a little tough on the teachers unions who were choking the state’s finances with their demands. He won that round, with apparent ease. His tough talk was the talk of the nation and many conservatives jumped on his bandwagon, already drafting him to run for President. It is here that I will note that tough talk to a teachers union does not a conservative make.
It is clear that Christie cares little for the gun rights that are guaranteed us by the 2nd Amendment. It does not matter to him that an honest woman is having to defend herself in court, having already spent almost two months in jail and away from her two young boys, for making an honest mistake with no criminal intent. He should have already stepped in and used his influence to stop this case in its tracks. He has not done so and that lack of action tells me he is not fit to run for President as a conservative. Even if he intervenes after the trial, were Ms. Allen to be found guilty, and grants a full pardon, he has missed his chance to do the right thing.