One of Minnesota’s heroes of personal liberty, a man who was a good friend to me when I needed him, unexpectedly passed away last night from complications arising from a heart attack the day before.  Joel Rosenberg literally wrote the book on concealed carry — in fact, he wrote several of them. To call Joel a key figure in the effort to get must-issue carry permit legislation passed in Minnesota is underestimating his importance to the cause.

This morning, I received the following note from his wife, which has now been posted to Joel’s site:

On Wednesday afternoon, June 1, 2011, Joel had a respiratory depression that caused a heart attack, anoxic brain damage and major organ failure. Despite the very best efforts of the paramedics and the team at Hennepin County Medical Center, Joel was pronounced brain dead at around 5:37pm Thursday June 2nd, In accordance with his wishes, he shared the gift of life through organ and tissue donation.

He is survived by his daughters, Judith Eleanor and Rachel Hannah, and his wife, Felicia Herman. Today, June 3rd would have been his 32nd wedding anniversary.

Joel was many things to many people.  He was devoted to his family, of course, and he was equally devoted to freedom.  When a friend or even an acquaintance was in trouble, he’d drop everything he could to help.  I know this personally, and I’ll tell a story here that I’ve refrained from sharing for some time.  I have long supported individual rights under the Second Amendment, but had rarely owned or shot a firearm until last summer.  I was made aware of a threat against my life by law enforcement that they considered credible (I won’t get more specific than that; the suspect is now serving a prison sentence), and it was made clear to me that I needed to step up my personal security.

The first person I thought to call was Joel.  He had made many appearances on our NARN shows over the years, so I knew him a little, but Joel responded like I was a long-lost brother.  He immediately trained and certified me for a carry permit, and then helped me select the best pistol for the job.  He offered me continuing support while agreeing to keep the matter very, very private.  As it turned out, thankfully, the need for the pistol has diminished, but I feel much more secure thanks in large part to Joel.  My family and I are safer because of him.

Of course, if you get to know Joel, you couldn’t help but like him.  Without a doubt, Joel could be provocative and challenging in his pursuit to demand the most freedom under the Second Amendment possible.  That got him in trouble on several occasions, and Joel faced charges relating to gun possession in Minneapolis.  The stress of fighting the legal battle certainly had to have contributed in some way to his sudden illness and death, and the legal and medical bills are going to weigh heavily on Felicia and the family.  I’d like to ask Hot Air readers to find some way to contribute to Joel’s defense fund at this link to help Felicia put that stress behind her in honor of the lifetime of good work Joel performed on our behalf.  If you can’t swing that, consider buying Joel’s latest book, The Carry Book: Minnesota Edition, a great book, with terrific advice even for outside Minnesota.

Rest in peace, Joel, and thank you for your great friendship. I am heartbroken at your passing.

Here are a couple of TEMS episodes with Joel that gives us a great sense of the joy with which Joel lived.

Video streaming by Ustream

Video streaming by Ustream