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Opinion

Why doesn't the Left care about Shaneen Allen?

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Beltway Confidential,Opinion,Gun Control,New Jersey,Ashe Schow,Pennsylvania,Law Enforcement

Shaneen Allen, a young mother of two, was arrested in Philadelphia last October over an honest mistake.

She's African-American, and instead of getting any kind of leniency -- or decency -- she was charged with a felony and could face up to four years in jail.

Where is the Left rushing in to cry racism and note black crime statistics and ask whether Allen would have gotten the same treatment if she were white?

Nowhere, and that might be because Allen was arrested over a concealed-carry permit.

Allen had been robbed twice in 2013, so she bought a handgun legally in Pennsylvania and obtained a concealed-carry permit. She didn't realize the permit wasn't valid in every state and was driving in New Jersey when she was pulled over for a minor traffic offense. She informed the officer she had a weapon and provided her permit, thinking she was within the law.

But she wasn’t. New Jersey’s stringent gun laws don’t recognize Pennsylvania’s concealed-carry permits.

National Review Online noted last week that the prosecutor in Allen’s case, Jim McClain, could have been lenient on Allen:

Under New Jersey’s rules, McClain could have declined to press any charges against Allen, recognizing that she was guilty of little more than an innocent mistake. He could have treated it as merely a misdemeanor and sent her to municipal court. He could have permitted her to enroll in one of the diversionary programs that New Jersey has established for peaceful first-time offenders, thereby sparing her both the prison time that will take her away from her children and the felony conviction that will almost certainly destroy her career in medical work.

But McClain didn’t. He sought maximum punishment for Allen — three years for firearm possession and an additional year for the ammunition.

The Washington Post’s Radley Balko pointed out that well-known liberal websites hadn’t written about Allen’s plight:


ThinkProgress has written about black crime statistics in the past, so where are they now?

It appears the only traditionally left-leaning website to mention Allen was BET -- good on them.

Balko, in his column for the Post, delves deeper into Allen's story and past abuses of gun-law discretion.

“Discretion is a double-edged sword. Used properly, it can help avoid the unjust outcomes that will fall through the cracks when applying a uniform criminal code to a large population,” Balko wrote. “But when enforcing victimless crimes, police and prosecutorial discretion can quickly become a tool of injustice, even of systematic oppression.”

It's difficult to imagine how Allen deserves the book thrown at her. It's even more difficult to imagine how the Left isn't rallying to her defense. Is extreme gun control so important that cases like Allen's should be ignored for cause?

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