New Jersey is a “may issue” state.  What this means, simply, is that state law gives local law police chiefs–and the state police in some circumstances–absolutely authority to decide who will, or will not, be licensed to carry concealed weapons.  This map, from Handgun should be instantly informative.  “May issue” states are rendered in tan.  I’m sure that readers will not be surprised by their locations.


In may issues states, law-abiding citizens may be certain that only a few, highly favored classes of people will be carrying concealed weapons: politicians, judges, the police, the wealthy and well-connected, and criminals.  In the case of Dustin Friedland and his wife, Jamie Schare Friedland, those criminals were, specifically, carjackers–and murderers.

Dustin and  Friedland
Dustin and Jamie Friedland

On Sunday, December 15, the Friedlands, laden with bags and parcels, approached their vehicle, described as a “luxury SUV”–it was a 2012 Range Rover–in the parking lot of “an upscale, expensive New Jersey mall.”  After opening the passenger-side door for his wife, Friedland was ambushed by two men as he approached his side of the car.  In what was apparently a brief struggle, they shot him in the head and fled with the vehicle.  Mrs. Friedland managed to get out.  Dustin was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.  The Range Rover was found the next day, damaged and abandoned in what most news sources described as a “high-crime neighborhood.”

Normally, I would not comment on a case like this.  An innocent, productive citizen injured or killed by armed thugs is hardly unusual, and usually not newsworthy.  In addition, so near Christmas, it feels somehow intrusive to bring up politics.  But those that would disarm the law abiding and thereby ensure that only vicious thugs are armed never rest, and never fail to seize any opportunity to exploit the tragedies of others.  That said, there are a few worthwhile things to learn from this crime, and the tragedy it has imposed on the Friedland family.

Fox News reports on a statement by Mrs. Friedland’s uncle that well supports the anti-liberty viewpoint:

He would never have done anything stupid, like grab for a gun — but I know he would not have hesitated to protect Jamie,’ her uncle, Dr. Mark Schare, told The Post [The New York Post] on Monday.

Imagine the mindset that would, considering the alternatives, believe being able and ready to defend one’s life to be “stupid.”  Perhaps Dr. Schare was suggesting that it would be foolish to try to disarm an armed thug, or perhaps he was suggesting that being armed and able to stop an armed thug is foolish.  Perhaps Dr. Schare was merely speaking emotionally during a terribly difficult time.  The first two possibilities are common anti-freedom sentiments that assert that the law-abiding must always meekly surrender to criminal violence, and cannot imagine actually resisting or shooting someone about to commit murder.

There is no way to know if Dustin Friedland ever considered carrying a concealed handgun or ever tried to obtain a license.  If he did, it is a virtual certainty that he would have been turned down.  “May issue” states often don’t bother to provide reasons for refusal, but when they do, they commonly say that the citizen applying for the license had no good reason or there was no evidence of a serious threat against them.  Some threats manifest themselves within seconds.  What is known is that it is very difficult to lawfully carry a concealed weapon in New Jersey.  It is not difficult at all for those that don’t obey the law.

Perhaps Dustin Friedland would not have chosen to carry a concealed handgun if he had the choice.  In New Jersey, he didn’t have the choice.  Some news sources have suggested that he was heroic in refusing to give the thugs his car keys, believing his wife was inside.  Perhaps so, but his wife and family, and all people of good will, would surely prefer that he–and everyone in his position–had the means to see that it was the thugs running for their lives or dying on the pavement.

Another disturbing factor in this and so many similar cases, is the reluctance of the media to effectively identify the suspects, more particularly, their race, which one might assume to be an issue of some importance.  Considering they are armed, dangerous, and known killers, this reluctance goes far beyond political correctness and actually endangers the public.  I’ve read many national and local news stories; these are representative:

CNN wrote:

Police described the two still-at-large suspects as being armed and dangerous, but beyond that, few details of the investigation were released.

The New York Post wrote:

The suspects were still at large last Monday night.

A devastated Jamie Friedland spent hours in vain scouring mug shots, a source said.

The local ABC station was somewhat more forthcoming:

The two suspects, who are described only as African American, fled the scene driving the victims’ vehicle.

The investigation remains active and ongoing. No arrests have been made.

Bearing Arms wishes Mrs. Friedland and her family and Dustin’s family our condolences and offer our prayers.