Joel Rosenberg, gun rights advocate, has died

Categories: Obituary
rosenberg portrait.jpg
Joel Rosenberg passed away yesterday.
Joel Rosenberg, the vocal gun rights advocate, has died.

This morning, his wife Felicia Herman posted an announcement on his website "Free Joel Rosenberg," which he created to chronicle his public spat with Minneapolis Police Sgt. William Palmer.

Under the title, "Joel Rosenberg -- husband, father, mensch," she announced that he died yesterday at Hennepin County Medical Center. Today would have been their 32nd anniversary.

Rosenberg, a Winnipeg-native and the author of several science fiction and fantasy novels, got his start fighting for gun rights after he successfully scared off an intruder in his home with a .22-caliber handgun. After Gov. Pawlenty passed a conceal-and-carry law in 2003, Rosenberg began teaching classes on firearm use and permit rules, and wrote a book called "Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota."

joel rosenberg pistol.jpg
Rosenberg at one of his gun permit classes in 2008.
His gun rights advocacy took a strange turn in November of last year, when he posted a YouTube video of himself bringing a gun into the Minneapolis Police Department. Rosenberg was there to pick up documents he'd requested when Sgt. William Palmer demanded he surrender his handgun. When Rosenberg refused, Palmer disarmed him. Rosenberg was arrested a month later, in part because of another video he posted called "PleaseDoNotHurtMeSargeantWilliamPalmer" in which he unholsters six different guns on his person. He was due in court over the incident in August.

Here's what his wife posted this morning, after Rosenberg suffered a heart attack on Wednesday:

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.


Funeral arrangements are still in the works.

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anoxic brain injury
anoxic brain injury

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You can help a furious accident victim. Visit his blog to know more about him. Any help would be greatly appreciated during this tragic time. Thanks for your help. 


Joel, Rest in Peace! I'm sorry that I never met you in person or got to take your handgun course as I had planned on.


He was a mensch! God bless him for his flamboyant style to call attention to why good, decent people SHOULD arm themselves. The cops can't ever cover all the bases. So carry a gun. And no sign up for it. No registration. Just get one and carry it with you in case some slimeball tries to rob or kill you. It's a fundamental right. 

Scott Vidas
Scott Vidas

I am very sorry to hear of Joel's passing.  I had the honor of reading several of his books and getting my permit through him.


RIP Joel, you did a hell of a lot for the 2nd here in MN.

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