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Jeffrey Muller doesn’t look like a hardened criminal. Still, he didn’t get all those eye and face injuries mowing the lawn. Before you decide whether or not this particular American should be able to exercise his Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, you’ll probably want to know how Mr. Muller came to be bruised and battered.’s been following this case for a while. Here’s the inside dope . . .

This is the astoundingly unlucky pet store owner from Sussex County, who authorities said happened to have the exact same name as the intended target of five thugs from Missouri. They had believed him to be a different Jeffrey Muller, a New York power broker who had swindled them out of $500,000, so they grabbed the wrong man in an abduction last year.

Muller, owner of J&G Pet Foods in Newton, was assaulted, zapped with a stun gun and kidnapped. Blindfolded in a sock hat, he was driven all the way from New Jersey to Lake Ozark, Mo. under death threats, until he finally managed to escape.

For the sake of argument, let’s take Mr. Muller’s story at face value. This happened in January 2010. Subsequent to the kidnapping, the New Jersey businessman feared for his life, thinking that avenging members of the perps’ families might return to intimidate him. Or worse. So Muller applied for a New Jersey license to carry a concealed weapon.

You know what happened next. He was turned down. So Muller took the Garden State to court. Last week, more than a year after his application, a New Jersey Superior Court judge in Morristown threw out the case, ruling in favor of State Attorney General Paula T. Dow.

Click here to read Dow’s brief. According to New Jersey’s AG, Mr. Muller failed to prove a “justifiable need” for a concealed carry permit. In terms of defending that provision of New Jersey law, Dow asserted the primacy of the state’s right to “ensure the safety of all of its citizens” against Mr. Muller’s “alleged right” to self-defense outside the home.

Aye, there’s the rub. As much as I hate to say it, Dow’s right about one thing: neither the Heller nor the McDonald Supreme Court rulings (striking down urban gun bans for home defense) specifically extended the right to bear arms beyond the home. It gets worse . . .

As TTAG wrote at the time, thanks to the Court’s nod to “reasonable restrictions,” the states can defend their anti-gun legislation by defining “reasonable” however they see fit. Gun bans? Out. Everything else? In. Dow drove through this loophole like an 18-wheeler from hell.

. . . the Court’s specific recognition in Heller that the right protected by the Second Amendment is limited and is subject to reasonable regulation, including measures for combating the problem of handgun violence.

Until the courts set a standard for “reasonable regulations,” or the legislatures within anti-gun states sort that shit out, these states will continue to deny, preclude and generally frustrate their denizens’ desire to bear arms. More to the point, law-abiding citizens like Mr. Muller will be left defenseless to satisfy some misguided idea of “public safety.”

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  1. And this is why I will never live in certain states. This is why I love Georgia. It ain’t perfect, but I can CC or OC in 98% of anywhere I want to go. The obvious restrictions are like government buildings and such.

  2. Living in Missouri, home to the meth-heads that apparently victimized the unfortunate Mr. Muller, I sympathize with him. This is ultimately a political problem, though. If people in states such as New Jersey want to change the way their elected representatives interpret gun laws, they’ll need to elect different governors, representatives and attorneys general. Until then, they’ll live in increasingly isolated “gun free” ghettos where only criminals are free to keep and bear arms outside the home.

  3. Courts exist to resolve disputes. The disputes in Heller and McDonald involved functional guns in the home and nothing more. The Supreme Court ruled that you and I and Heller and McDonald each have a right to keep and bear arms in our homes, and that this is an individual right independent of any membership in the militia. The Court went no further.

    In jurisprudence, there is a doctrine called “judicial restraint.” It means that courts should decide only the issues before it (called “deciding narrowly”) and not try to solve all the world’s problems in one decision. In Heller and McDonald, the Supreme Court exercised judicial restraint. That’s a good thing. Compare this to the Warren Court, which decided cases very broadly. That’s called “judicial activism,” and should be frowned on. Why? Because otherwise, the Court could have decided that Heller was entitled to have a gun in his home and, oh-by-the-way, everyone in America has to eat Twinkies on Thurdays. So bravo to the Roberts Court for not overreaching, because oh-by-the-way Twinkies give me a toothache.

    The next issue that will be decided by the Supremes will be: does the right to self-defense end at the front door of one’s home? If the answer is “no,” which I suspect will be the outcome, then the question becomes: “what limits may the state place upon the right of self-defense outside the home?” And that, my friends, is where things will get reeeeeeeeeally interesting.

  4. “what limits may the state place upon the right of self-defense outside the home?”

    If we’re talking about the simple act of peacefully carrying a firearm, the state may impose no restriction whatsoever.

    • “If we’re talking about the simple act of peacefully carrying a firearm, the state may impose no restriction whatsoever.”

      That remains to be seen. But for the record, I agree with you.

  5. Alas my home state makes another joke. Defense of ones self should at least in this case have been a no brainer. But, the poloticians and judges of this state don’t seem to be reading the same papers we read. many police departments in the state have been cutting their forces and as a result crime has gone up.

    When they (poloticians, judges and anti – gunners) become the victims or they get voted out that’s when things will change.

    • The politicians don’t become victims because they are never denied firearms. And when they are voted out, another group of New Jersey Arthur Kill pond-scum are elected in. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

  6. All of which is another reason why states like New Jersey continue to lose population, taxes and businesses to states like Texas. Keep it up New Jersey and you’ll find yourself with only 12 congressional districts. Oops, I forgot. You’re already down to 12 from 15 in only 30 years. Way to go folks.

  7. neither the Heller nor the McDonald Supreme Court rulings (striking down urban gun bans for home defense) specifically extended the right to bear arms beyond the home.

    Sure it did. Right there on page 18 of Heller:

    “Putting all of these textual elements together, we find that they guarantee the individual right to possess and carry weapons in case of confrontation.”

    Even Justice Stevens realized it in his dissent to Heller (my highlights):

    “Given the presumption that most citizens are law abiding, and the reality that the need to defend oneself may suddenly arise in a host of locations outside the home, I fear that the District’s policy choice may well be just the first of an unknown number of dominoes to be knocked off the table.” (p. 46-47)

    Of course, boneheads who are opposed to 2A will either not see this or willfully ignore it, and the court will in its next opinion spell this fact out in no uncertain terms, as it’s not very fond of being petulantly ignored. This is why McDonald spent so much time describing the right to keep and bear arms as a “fundamental right”, even though Heller should have made that fact abundantly clear to anyone with half a brain.

  8. Isn’t any regulation beyond ownership, which I’ll save for a later debate, unnecessary? This article proves my point that any licensing for concealed handguns is completely useless.

  9. If Obummer is allowed to appoint any more judges to the SC, then don’t count your chickens just yet. Judicial restraint is just a fairy tale.. It hangs by the thinnest of threads now. One more activist judge like the latest one and all bets are off for a very long time.

  10. Please get your facts straight before you publish something that is defamation of character. The Jeffrey muller you call a power broker that stole 500k is a total untruth. He was not even involved in that business deal on any level and never stole a dime from anyone. It is a complete case of mistaken identity for both Jeff Muller’s so stop publishing statements or you will be sued!

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