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. blog.nj.com’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.”