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Joel Rosenberg, 1954-2011

GOCRA is sad to announce that civil rights activist, author and instructor Joel Rosenberg died yesterday afternoon. He was 57, and had suffered from multiple health issues which had worsened in the last two years. He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

Joel Rosenberg, 1954-2011

Rosenberg was the author of several textbooks on carrying a pistol with a permit, and was a prolific novelist, with more than 20 fantasy, science fiction and mystery titles published.

In 2003, Rosenberg wrote the definitive textbook on carry in Minnesota, Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota, published by the American Association of Firearms Instructors, Inc. In the eight years since, Joel has taught Minnesota Permit to Carry classes to thousands of students in the Twin Cities area and around the state of Minnesota.

Rosenberg became interested in guns and self defense more than 20 years ago, after receiving a series of anonymous death threats from a professed neo-Nazi. He applied for and received an unlimited permit to carry a pistol from the Minneapolis Police, a rarity at the time, when citizens had to convince an official of a need for personal protection before being allowed to carry a gun for self defense.

Not content with securing the then-privilege for himself, Rosenberg worked with GOCRA to pass the Minnesota Citizens Personal Protection Act of 2003, and was instrumental in its re-passage in 2005 after it was suspended by a court challenge. His online forum, active from 2005 to 2010, was an electronic gathering place for activists, hobbyists, students and others interested in guns in Minnesota.

A prolific blogger and sometime gadfly, Rosenberg supported the same goals and principles as GOCRA and other organizations, but never accepted a formal role in any, preferring to be, in his words, “just a guy.”

In 2010, Rosenberg was arrested for wearing a gun into the offices of the Minneapolis Police at Minneapolis City Hall, which contains a courtroom two floors away. He was charged with carrying gun into a courthouse complex, a charge which he planned to vigorously defend as being illegal, unconstitutional, and retaliatory for his frequent criticism of the Minneapolis Police.

He is survived by his wife, Felicia Herman, and by his two daughters, Judy and Rachel.

A fund to support Rosenberg’s family, which has suffered financially from his arrest, is available at freejoel.ellegon.com.

Joel-Gunstop