Joel Rosenberg, a Minneapolis gun advocate and author who was arrested for packing heat in City Hall, has died.
Rosenberg, 57, died Thursday at Hennepin County Medical Center. Respiratory problems and a heart attack eventually led to major organ failure, his wife, Felicia Herman, said in an online notice posted Friday.
"Today, June 3rd would have been his 32nd wedding anniversary," Herman wrote.
In November, Rosenberg wore a holstered semiautomatic handgun when he showed up for a meeting with police spokesman Sgt. William Palmer, according to charges.
In a video of the encounter later uploaded to YouTube, Palmer can be heard telling Rosenberg that a court order prohibits people from carrying a gun in the building. Rosenberg objected, citing state statute. He avoided arrest at that time when Palmer, who confiscated the weapon, said: "Will you take this back to your car, please?"
Rosenberg replied: "You said the magic word."
More than a month later, Rosenberg was booked into the county jail on charges of possession of a dangerous weapon in a courthouse, a felony, and contempt of court, a misdemeanor. The case was still pending at the time of his death, according to his "Free Joel Rosenberg" website, freejoel.ellegon.com.
City Hall is part of the courthouse complex because it houses conciliation court on the third floor, the charges say. A sign posted in the hall that connects City Hall with the county Government Center states that weapons are prohibited by district court order.
Mark Koscielski, the owner of Minneapolis' lone gun shop, said of Rosenberg: "I liked the guy, because he was the type who would take on causes that no one else would take on.
"It's kind of sad," Koscielski said. "I won't be able to harass him anymore when he comes into the shop."
Along with various science-fiction titles, the Canadian-born Rosenberg also wrote, "Everything You Need to Know About (Legally) Carrying a Handgun in Minnesota," which was a big hit several years ago at the height of the legislative debate in the state over gun rights.
Herman said that in accordance with her husband's wishes, Rosenberg "shared the gift of life through organ and tissue donation."
Rosenberg's survivors, besides his wife, include his daughters Judith Eleanor and Rachel Hannah.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482