SAYREVILLE - A Philadelphia mother is facing a trial and possible prison time for carrying a handgun in New Jersey illegally.
Shaneen Allen says her life has not been the same since she was stopped near Atlantic City last October and found with a gun. She says she lost her job and her ability to support her children. She can't get a new job with gun charges pending.
Allen says she was a new gun owner and had a legal permit to carry a firearm in Pennsylvania. She says she was working three jobs and trying to learn and keep track of gun laws.
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When she was pulled over on the Atlantic City Expressway, she told the officer she had a gun. She says she didn't realize her permit to carry was invalid in New Jersey.
"I respect the law even now, even though I'm going through this crisis," she says. "Because without the law there's no order."
A year later Allen is facing an uncertain future, but gun rights advocates have rallied behind her. The Middlesex County Tea Party hopes to raise money and raise the profile of Allen's story.
James DePaola wants her charges dropped. "If they do it to her, they'll do it to us," he says. "Shaneen is me, Shaneen is my wife who has kids, who's struggling."
Allen's case has garnered national attention, and prompted some New Jersey lawmakers to introduce bills that would give discretion to New Jersey judges dealing with out-of-state gun owners.
Allen says she is not the right test case for New Jersey's law. "I regret telling the truth to the police," she says. "Would we be here right now if I didn't tell the truth."
Several web-based fundraising efforts have been launched for Shaneen Allen. Her trial is slated to start Oct. 6.