Shaneen Allen is a young mother from Philadelphia. Allen was charged with gun infractions following a traffic stop in New Jersey. She legally carries the gun in Pennsylvania and is hoping to catch leniency from the New Jersey judge who hears her case, according to Fox News.
Allen is facing up to three years in prison and she said she is “very much worried” when speaking to Fox News about her future. She has two sons; Niaire, who is 10 and Sincere, who is 3. She was charged with unlawful possession of a weapon. She had her .380 Bersa Thunder handgun with her when pulled over in New Jersey’s Atlantic County back on October 1. She was pulled over for making an unsafe lane change. She also had hollow-point bullets in her possession.
“I’m very much worried because I have two kids who depend on me,” Allen said. “And I’m doing this all by myself. It’s just me.”
She has no previous criminal record. She said she purchased the gun legally one week before her arrest. She was on her way to Atlantic City, New Jersey early in the morning to prepare for her son’s birthday party, which was taking place in the city 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.”
After she was robbed twice in the past year, Allen decided to purchase the gun to protect herself. She told Fox News she has never even fired it.
“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 said that she informed the officer she had a gun in her 2007 Chevrolet sedan when the officer approached the car. She also told the officer she had a concealed carry permit in Pennsylvania.
“The officer knew there was a gun there, she was completely honest and open,” her attorney, Evan Nappen, said. “There are no aggravating factors in this case; she’s a single mom of two, working in the medical field who was robbed twice and that’s what inspired her to get a gun license in the first place.”
Nappen said there is a possibility that a jury could invoke jury nullification. This is when the jury will acquit a defendant who is technically guilty, but should not be punished for their crime.
“I wish I was more aware of the law,” she said. “And to anyone out there looking to purchase a firearm, know the law. I didn’t even get the chance to understand the laws. I only had it [the gun] a week.”
A pre-trial conference is slated for August 5 in Allen’s case.
“I just want people to know that if you look at it through my eyes, mistakes happen,” Allen said. “I just hope that everything turns out OK for me and my kids because I’m all they have.”
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Philly Mother Charged with Unlawful Possession of a Weapon by Jim Vassallo