For those with legal conceal and carry permits, it can become a habit to have your guns with you legally when you go about your business as a form of protection. However, concealed carry permits are a state-by-state legal issue, so once you cross a state line, you may be inadvertently breaking the law.

Here in Philadelphia, right on the border of New Jersey where it is common to change states regularly, this becomes a real risk. For Shaneen Allen, this has become all too clear. Allen, a single mother of two from Philadelphia with no criminal record, was pulled over for an unsafe lane change by a police officer in New Jersey, when she reported that she was in possession of a firearm and presented her carry permit. The officer proceeded to arrest her for unlawful possession of a firearm.

Unbeknownst to Allen, New Jersey has some of the strictest gun control laws in the country and does not recognize permits from any other state. Despite no criminal intent and following safe protocol with the officer, Allen now faces serious jail time. Her request to have the charges dropped has been refused by a judge, and the prosecutor does not indicate any intent to allow her to take advantage of a pre-trial diversion, despite this being a non-violent first offense. While her lawyer plans to passionately fight for her release, this example makes it clear just how serious a charge it can be to take a legal firearm into another state where you do not have a permit.

Pennsylvania concealed carry permits not valid in most neighboring states

While some states do respect permits from other states, New Jersey does not recognize any other state’s permits, including Pennsylvanian permits. New Jersey is not the only nearby state where you could be arrested for carrying your firearm with a valid Pennsylvania concealed carry permit. New York, Delaware, Maryland, Ohio, and Washington D.C. all also do not recognize a Pennsylvania permit as valid.

In fact, Virginia and West Virginia are the only neighboring states where a Pennsylvania permit would be valid. If you traveled through other states on the way to these destinations, under some state laws, you could still be arrested for having a firearm in your car. For this reason, taking a gun outside of Pennsylvania is a risky venture.

Although we would like to believe that most states would not be so overzealous in prosecuting a simple mistake made without malice as the New Jersey law enforcement has been in the Shaneen Allen case, it is a risk that you should avoid taking. If you are being prosecuted for gun-related crimes, you will need an attorney familiar with the progressively more complicated laws that exist in and around Philly. If you have been arrested for a firearm or weapons-related crime, contact Philadelphia criminal lawyer Mike Fienman today. We will aggressively fight for your rights. Call us at (215) 839-9529 at any time to set up a free consultation on your individual case.

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