If a knife in your pocket is as American as, well, apple pie, you might want to get involved to protect your little slice of life from disappearing. Take a look at these five ways to do something about the infringements upon our right to own and carry knives in America. Most of us in outdoor sports can do at least one of these things.
- Contact your legislators in Washington, DC and ask them to support the Knife Owners Protection Act, HR 3478 and S 1955. Knife Rights founder and Chairman Doug Ritter explained, “This Knife Rights developed bill would protect the rights of all knife owners to travel throughout the United States without fear of prosecution under the myriad of state and local knife laws.” These bills need more co-sponsors. Ask your Representative and Senators to lend their support.
- Donate to Knife Rights or donate an auction item for their biggest fundraising push of the year coming up in March. Contact Ritter about that. This fine organization is making a huge difference in our freedoms and rights, and they need our help. They have helped pass 12 pro-knife laws in 11 states in just four years. “We can make a difference for the vast amount of law abiding citizens in this country,” continued Ritter, “and we are re-writing knife law in America.”
- Join the legal battle in New York City. Are you a lawyer (or do you know one) who would provide pro bono work to those arrested on frivolous knife charges? “We hear from people all the time, especially in New York City where there is persecution of knife owners in that city,” said Ritter. “Not everyone can afford a lawyer. Someone has to stand up to the City of New York.” Knife Rights has a federal civil rights lawsuit pending in New York and we can all kick in to help fight that battle. Contributions are extremely important. Is it possible that how things go in NYC will affect the future of other metro cities around the country? Make a donation to help fund the fight there before it becomes a fight in your own city.
Ask your schools to maintain calm and level heads. A pocket knife or a fishing knife is an outdoor-use tool—a very useful tool for those who enjoy fishing, hunting, camping, and hiking. Too many times, like in the recent case of David Duren-Sanner, an honor roll senior at Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tennessee, all reason and logic is thrown out the window. At the least, students are harmed by school suspensions, but in some cases, like that of Duren-Sanner’s, the situation quickly escalated to school expulsion and pending felony charges. This exceptionally good student with a squeaky-clean reputation, who borrowed his father’s truck to drive to school, is now forced to attend an alternative high school, miss all school activities, and may not graduate—all because his father, a commercial fisherman, had a fishing fillet knife in his truck. That has put Duren-Sanner’s college plans, and his entire future, in a tailspin. “We see zero tolerance turning into zero common sense in schools,” said Ritter. “It’s absurd and it is a cop out, a cop out that harms our kids.”
- Use social media to share this message. Copy and paste this story to your Facebook page, and “Like” it. Someone else might be able to make a contribution in the four ways mentioned above, we need to help get the word out to a large group of knife-owning Americans. “There is a sense of urgency,” concluded Ritter. When asked what keeps him up at night, he was honest that it was the worry of raising enough money so that his organization can continue to get things done. “Our momentum is great, but each year we have more bills and there are travel expenses that add up. We need to respond when legislative opportunities arise. We need to strike when we have opportunity for a good chance of success, and not let it slip by.”
Doug Ritter and Todd Rathner of Knife Rights are doing great work. If Americans step up to help, we can accomplish a great deal together and increase the footprint of this fine organization.
K.J. Houtman is the author of the award-winning Fish On Kids Books series, chapter books for eight- to 12-year-olds with adventures based around fishing, camping, and hunting. Her work is available at Amazon and local bookstores. Find out more at fishonkidsbooks.com.