A bill passed in the US House in December and now up for consideration in the Senate would force all states to abide by each other’s permits, meaning that concealed-carriers such as Allen would no longer have to navigate a Rorschach-like map of regulations as they navigate the country.
It would also mean gun-wary states such as New York would be “bound by the boldest experiment” – including states that put basically no restrictions at all on concealed-carry – as South Texas School of Law professor Josh Blackman has put it.
That a black single mom has become the poster-woman for a national concealed-carry reciprocity bill has further put Republicans in an unusual – some say awkward – position. By raising legal gun carry to a civil rights issue, the party usually arguing in favor of states’ rights finds itself defending federal supremacy.
“The history of racism and guns is for real, and you see it in this case: Shaneen Allen was pulled over for failure to maintain a lane, some jazz like that – some people think it was DWB [driving-while-black],” says Evan Nappen, her attorney. “Then you have this law-abiding, honest woman from a tough part of Philadelphia – where she has gotten robbed twice – who does the right thing, follows the law [to carry legally in her home state] and New Jersey wants to incarcerate her.