Meet the Face of National Concealed Carry Reciprocity: Shaneen Allen

Meet the face of national concealed carry reciprocity, Shaneen Allen. (Photo: Bob Brown/Richmond Times-Dispatch via AP)

In 2013 Pennsylvania resident Shaneen Allen spent 48 days in jail for carrying a handgun into New Jersey while holding a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry license. Though eventually pardoned by Gov. Christie, she faced a minimum of three years in prison and hefty fines for her mistake.

Today Allen has become the face of the Concealed Carry Reciprocity Act of 2017. Republicans have cited her experience as they argue for allowing concealed carry permit holders to take their firearms across state lines without fear of prosecution.

“Hopefully I’ll be at the White House next to (President) Trump signing this bill,” Allen told ABC News. “Republicans put their money where their mouth was.”

Republicans designed the Reciprocity Act to protect people like Allen who hold valid CCLs in their state of residence but travel into more restrictive states for work or pleasure. These individuals, proponents argue, should not face harsh punishments if they mistakenly bring their handgun across state lines.

Under the current system, some states accept CCLs from other states, but some do not. The permit holder must determine the laws in the states they wish to travel. The Reciprocity Act would turn CCLs into a legal document much like a driver’s license. A valid CCL in one state must be accepted by law enforcement officers in any other state.

Allen told ABC that she thought her CCL was “just like a driver’s license.” While her reasoning is understandable, the mother of two nearly became a convicted felon for her mistake. She was pulled over on the Atlantic City Expressway for making an unsafe lane change, but was arrested when she told the officer she was carrying a handgun under a valid Pennsylvania CCL.

SEE ALSO: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie Pardons Shaneen Allen

She spent nearly two months in jail before she was admitted to a pretrial intervention program. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie interviewed and pardoned her in 2015, ending a two-year ordeal that garnered national attention.

“When you see the system go wrong in the life of a real person it becomes more compelling,” GOP New Jersey Rep. Tom MacArthur told ABC News after meeting with Allen and voting for the legislation. “The woman did nothing wrong and yet her family was thrown into real chaos.”

To those who argue that expanding concealed carry laws would give criminals more opportunities to carry firearms, Allen points out that criminals carry firearms with or without National Reciprocity.

“All I can say is I pray for them. Crime is everywhere,” she said. “Every person that is carrying could possibly save your life. A crime could happen anywhere.”

About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

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  • joefoam January 5, 2018, 9:15 am

    Wow, 2 months in jail for a simple mistake. Armed robbers get less time than that. Our justice system is FUBAR

    • deanbob January 5, 2018, 1:32 pm

      The number of injustices has the blind lady of justice weeping. What is up with AG Sessions and civil asset forfeiture?

  • Archangel January 1, 2018, 12:53 am

    We can only hope this defect in the law is corrected ASAP.
    Funny that where you are not allowed to carry a concealed weapon, you are more likely to need it!

    • Barry January 6, 2018, 1:40 pm

      Here in Linn County Oregon, we don’t have “Gun free school zones.” Our Sheriff doesn’t ever plan on having a maniac come to one of our schools and murder innocent children and school staff. Finally some common sense thinking.

  • Ton E December 29, 2017, 5:06 pm

    She’s also the poster child for “know before you go”.

  • tsh77769 December 29, 2017, 1:48 pm

    Just another racist privileged white mail redneck gun nut…oh, wait…ummmm

  • Marcus December 29, 2017, 1:44 pm

    Gun control is racist.

    • Alan January 5, 2018, 1:00 pm

      So are many States CCW requirements.
      A single Black Mother mostly does not have the time nor money to comply with State laws for CCW licensing.
      This is especially true where they live in certain inner cities where Classes are often held in suburban areas, and require them to drive great distances.
      They must then get family(if they’re lucky) to look after children, or pay for it.
      Point is, what’s a hassle for many Guy’s is a major hurdle for many women, especially single mothers.
      Not to mention that many women are the ones really needing CCW, with wacko Ex’s out there.

      • Capt D January 6, 2018, 12:43 pm

        Why would you assume these same factors do not exist for white, hispanic, oriental or any other single mother?

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