Doug Ritter, Knife Rights – The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 338)
Doug Ritter of Knife Rights (https://kniferights.org) joins Bob “The Knife Junkie” DeMarco on episode 338 of The Knife Junkie Podcast.
Ritter founded Knife Rights, a nonprofit organization, in 2006 to forge a “Sharper Future for all Americans”™ by rewriting knife law in America. So far, 34 bills repealing knife bans in 23 states since 2010!
He also is an award-winning journalist and founder of Equipped To Survive with over 30 years of experience reviewing outdoor and survival gear. Ritter literally wrote the book on aviation survival and sells aviation survival kits.
Ritter designs and consults on survival gear, survival kits and outdoor equipment including knives, such as the legendary folder, Ritter Griptilian, which is now made in an evolved form by Hogue Knives, RSK-MK1. The RSK-MK1 is a highly successful knife and now comes in numerous color variations, a mini and fixed bladed version.
Help support Knife Rights during their “Ultimate Steel” fundraiser. Double your chances to win with the Ultimate Steel tail end bonus drawing. Donate now or donate again and pick your prize while supporting KnifeRights.org!
Be sure to support The Knife Junkie and get in on the perks of being a Patron — including early access to the podcast and exclusive bonus content.Doug Ritter of Knife Rights joins me again on episode 338 of #theknifejunkie podcast. We talk knives, knife rights and knife laws, and how you can help kniferights.org with their Ultimate Steel fundraising event. Check it out. Click To Tweet
Doug Ritter, Knife Rights
The Knife Junkie Podcast (Episode 338)
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
Your weekly dose of knife news and information about knives and knife collecting.
Here's your host Bob the knife junkie, DeMarco.
Welcome to the Knife Junkie podcast.
I'm your host, Bob DeMarco.
On this edition of the show, I'm speaking with a man who probably needs no introduction, but I'll give it to him anyway.
And that's Doug Ritter.
Doug is celebrated in the knife industry for writing the manual on downed aircraft survival, designing the RSK mark one now made by hog.
But he is most loved, at least by this host, that's for sure.
For his tireless work with the organization that he founded.
Because of Doug, I can now do this in the Commonwealth of Virginia and not take a trip to the Big House.
Many of us have dug to thank for this.
His him and his association have changed automatic knife laws and other antiquated knife laws in many states.
I think it's past 38. At this point we'll talk all about that and the current fight for knife sanity in state legislatures will also talk about the ultimate steel sweepstakes, which is ending shortly and more.
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Mr Ritter welcome back to the show, Doug how you doing?
I'm doing great always a pleasure to be here.
You know it's basically been a year.
It has looking back.
It's hard to believe, yeah, we've had you on the show, you've been here a couple of times.
You were on the birthday bash last August.
That was a that was a blast of course, and but it's always nice to have you on not only because you're just a nice guy and we like talking, but it's always good to check in and find out the kind of progress knife rights is making.
And if you need the quick and dirty knife rights, is the organization out there that is fighting for our?
Rights for sane knife rights.
Reasonable common sense, knife laws, and you've changed a lot of laws in a lot of states.
How many states are you up to at this point?
So 25 states 39 bills passed.
Not bad since 2010. Yeah, not bad at all.
I mean, So what does that actually take for?
For someone who's listening who who doesn't really know what that fight might be like, what?
What does it look like to you?
So I mean.
Not always easy.
We because we have a dedicated lobbyist.
We travel all over the country.
We go to the statehouse.
We work with people, sometimes it takes years.
Virginia for example, where you're celebrating the repeal of your switchblade ban.
5-6 years in the making and two two bills passed and vetoed by two different governors until everything came together so.
Part of it is just plugging away at it, which you know unfortunately takes a lot of money, yeah?
Well, we have to raise that money.
So how do you raise that money?
So our big annual now that you mention it.
Annual fundraiser is is heading towards a conclusion here in two weeks.
We've got our tail end bonus drawing, which has over $30,000 worth of knives, guns, and really cool prizes, and our main drawing, which has almost $100,000 worth of knives, guns, and really cool prizes.
Anyone who donates now gets in both drawings, so you get two different chances.
Drawings to win really cool prizes and it's winners choice, which is pretty unique, in other words.
If you're drawn, you get to pick your prize from everything that's left, so you get the prize you want, not just.
First prize or tenth prize or whatever it is, and we've got hundreds of prizes, so it's pretty incredible event.
Provides about half of our annual funding, so it's really important, especially these days.
Our costs have gone up stupidly.
Recently paid almost $2000 to get our lobbyists to a State House.
Because, you know, we had two days notice and that's an economy class ticket that would have been six or $700.00 a year ago.
So it's really important that we, you know, raise as much money as we can and we try to make the ultimate steal and tail on bonus such an incredible event and have such incredible prizes that people want to do it.
Got a number of tail end bonus knives available where you can donate, say $100 and get a really cool SOG knife, or $500.00.
Get a really cool cold steel.
It I think it's the best drawing out there, but I might be a little biased.
Well, I mean it is for for a knife person.
It is by far the best drawing out there because.
Not only do you just kind of enter and get something for sure, like the SOG knife, and, but you also have the opportunity to get really crazy like beautiful custom knives.
And like I mean the the prizes are like crazy in terms of how let me let me articulate in terms of how valuable I mean.
These are a lot of how do you acquire all of these prized knives?
They are all donated.
I beg for them at knife shows and elsewhere.
We've got many of our makers who have donated year after year after year we've got knives valued up to $3500.
We've got over.
30 prizes over $1000.
It's quite a collection of incredible knives, firearms as well.
Got a knife course?
How to make a knife you want to go spend 5 days learning how to make a knife.
We've got one of our makers who's donated that so pretty much something for everyone.
We've got tactical knives, traditional knives, fixed blades, daggers.
I mean you name it.
In terms of you were talking before about having to spend, you know the things that people might not think about knife rights.
Having to spend 2 grand just to send a lobbyist to A to a state capital in a rush.
Is that what it looks like?
I mean, why?
What is the I mean?
I think it's an emergency.
Believe me, it's knife related, but how is it that that you were called upon kind of to to to act that quickly on a knife law?
So it is when when you have legislation running, it's not like you've got a knife.
Show that you've got to be at.
You know the date a year ahead of time when you've got legislation running.
If you're lucky, you get three or four days notice.
Sometimes you get only 24 hours notice and.
I or lobbyists have to be at that statehouse to for a hearing for an important meeting with chairman of a committee or or the Speaker of the House or whatever it is, and.
The reason we have been so successful, the reason that we have 39 bills passed repealing knife vents in 25 states is because we show up.
And we show up every time and.
That's how we get things done.
You don't get it.
By sending emails or video or you show up and you talk to these folks in their offices, and that's how we get it done.
But if you don't show up, you don't get it done.
What do you?
What do you find the sticking points are?
You know, I think we can all.
Understand what the commonalities are.
Most of us grow up in somewhere or another with a Swiss army knife or a pocket knife, but but when you're there and you're trying to convince legislators what, what are the sticking points?
You have a couple sticking points.
One is inertia, you know.
Once, once the laws is on the books, it's not easy to get it repealed.
And that is always the problem.
Part of the problem is we're very few people's priority.
We're very few legislators priority so that we have to convince people to pay attention to an issue that isn't making headlines.
That doesn't necessarily affect them.
And and that is a challenge.
Now we're lucky in that we are the only Second Amendment organization that gets support from the left.
We most of our bills passed with partisan support, very strong bipartisan support.
So that's part of our secret, but it's also you know it takes time.
It takes time to convince folks to carry a bill.
It takes time to convince folks to vote on a bill, and it is the nature of legislators and legislatures to leave things to the last minute.
The the legislators legislatures that meet for the entire year have even less of a sense of urgency than those that meet for only 60 days, or only meet every other year.
So it's always a challenge, just.
To get people to the point where we're important enough to do something about, and sometimes that takes years.
It's just take coming back and coming back and finally hitting the right combination of legislators and sponsors and timing.
But if you don't go through that process if you aren't there every year, if you don't.
They didn't get that.
I mean, New York took nine and a half years, 2 vetoes and a trip to the Supreme Court.
So it's just one example of how you just have to keep plugging away at this.
And that's what we're good at.
I'm a stubborn ***.
God so but.
Do you find that in the eyes of some people's guns and knives are conflated, or at least grouped together?
And is there?
Is there any of that, you know?
I mean there, there are certainly legislators that we deal with as well as witnesses that come and testify at hearings that can only view.
Uh, switchblade or an automatic knife?
Or a dagger or something like that as a weapon.
And that's unfortunate, but.
Again, we get back to the fact that because this is criminal justice reform and it isn't guns, we're so often able to get.
Left-leaning legislators to get on board and I mean, we we've had NRF rated sponsors for some of our bills.
These are people who hate guns but.
They're good with what we're doing because it's their constituents that get arrested for carrying a pocket knife with no intent to do anything wrong with it except use it to open a box.
This I think it's an exciting thing to hear that you get support bipartisan support only because, well, for a lot of reasons.
So we need that kind of that kind of coming together in a lot of ways.
And if it's knives that are doing it, that's wonderful.
But really, the thing that excites me is that it just seems like the stigma is lifting and to to a great extent, especially about the automatic knives and.
And once you find out that a lot of these laws are either.
You know, rest the restoration period or the time after?
What do they call it?
The time after the Civil War when they didn't want black people to be armed?
Or they're or they're based on James Dean movies from the 50s where they thought, you know, juvenile delinquency was a real issue, and that is part of the mix that helps us get things done.
You know, when, when we go in and we talk to the legislature and we bring examples trainers?
Of automatics and assisted openings and manual opening and fixed blades.
And we explain and we let them handle it and they see that you know that there's nothing inherently evil with these.
Switchblades it helps those who might.
You might normally expect to be opposed to this to come to the realization that this is no big deal.
I mean, we've been doing this in 2010. 39 bills no one's ever tried to say oh, we made a mistake.
We need to reinstate the ban on because it makes it has no effect on crime.
I mean, the vast majority of knives used in criminal acts are kitchen knives.
That's which way it's not, Dirk staggers or stilettos, not machetes, not long knives.
The mass, vast majority are kitchen knives, which everybody has in their kitchen.
And when you explain that to folks they go, Oh well, that actually makes sense.
So a lot of it is just breaking through the.
The prejudices and bias that is built up because of Hollywood and.
This this demonization of knives, that yeah, hopefully we're moving past.
I I, I'm people, might be sick of hearing me say this, but I believe that our appreciation for knives, our love for our knives is in our genetics or in our cultural genetics.
I don't know what that's I've.
I've heard the term epigenetics.
I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I think it's so ingrained in us as a tool of survival, a tool, a tool of wonder.
I mean, you know that when the first knife, which is one of our very, very first tools, you know that that was.
High tech that just like we look at our newest iPhone with a sense of wonder.
Those earliest knives were looked at with a sense of wonder and I feel like that's still in all of us and and I would imagine those legislators who are not so thrilled about guns.
They see a knife and it triggers something totally different in them than a gun.
Would you know?
I don't know that it's that.
But when you explain to them that the knives in their kitchen are more dangerous than the lives that we're trying to legalize?
In terms of, you know when they've been used for criminal activity.
It makes sense to them.
It's like OK, well, I have a whole drawer full or knife block full of these knives.
And yeah, I get it now.
Lot a lot of what we do as education and once you get people on board and then you get the steamroller going and then you know we make progress.
That's how we do things.
I mean, Virginia, this year repealing the Switchblade Ban, Ohio, we got preemption done after getting rid of their bans.
All their knife bands last year and changing their terribly vague laws laws Louisiana.
We are now allowed to conceal carry.
Switch Blade after a couple years ago we got rid of their switchblade ban.
Alabama and Georgia as part of their constitutional carry legislation, got rid of their existing knife bans.
Now it it.
It's all a process.
You know we're working in Pennsylvania still this year we got out of the the House out of vote of two O 2 to one so you know we'll see what happens in the Senate after the summer recess.
But that's an indication of getting people on board with the fact that you know these aren't evil weapons.
There's nothing wrong with them and.
I can I can make it criminal justice reform is really a bipartisan issue.
And when you frame it as such.
You get a lot more support than if it's strictly a 2A issue or strictly a. I want to sell more knives issue and and that's going to create jobs so.
We use whatever tools we can to persuade legislators to get on board, but.
You know, we're we're doing something right, I think.
Well, what was the fight like here in Virginia?
Maybe it wasn't much of a fight at all, but I do remember a couple of years back.
This was all brought up and it was.
It was quashed.
It was vetoed by our former governor.
When you actually buy two of your former governors, two of them McAuliffe and one was one was a switch.
Really bad repeal, which is what we got done here.
One was the the the middle one.
If you will.
The last one that got vetoed was a band that simply allowed for.
Companies in Virginia to manufacture, sell, distribute switchblades out of state.
You know you're home to one of the to arguably the world's largest knife distributorship in Blue Ridge knives, and they couldn't legally.
All all they want to do is write.
They didn't want to sell them at Virginia, Sir, they just wanted to be able to sell them to other.
All the other places that they're legal and.
He vetoed that as well.
Again, a bill that had bipartisan support.
It's all about jobs in one of the poorest counties in the entire state, so.
I take it it's important to recognize that while you now have a Republican governor, the Senate.
Is still held by the Democrats, so we had to get through both of those, both the Senate and the House, and we did it this year.
Everything came together and again.
Part of it is just plugging away.
You can't give up.
You can't, you know.
It's it's inevitable that you're going to lose some, and you're going to have some vetoes, but that doesn't stop us from coming back and trying again.
And and you know, the political landscape changes and it doesn't take a big change.
You know, in this case, it took the governor.
That in other places it just took.
A small change in the legislature to enable us to get something done, or suddenly someone actually cares about getting it done.
It's it's a lot about.
Oftentimes Ohio's a good example of building relationships over years and years of of effort.
To the point where OK, they want to help you.
Whether it's me or lobbyists, get it done because you know you've been around for long enough that they've become.
Friends, so to speak.
We use every weapon we've got to get this stuff done.
Sometimes it's easy, but but most of the easy states we've done and the the the low hanging fruits been picked and now it it's honest.
I mean, it's harder, it's just harder.
Yeah, and I bet a lot of governments feel like they're they have so many other big fish to fry.
But you know, to your point.
Like a lot of things in life it it's just about showing up and being there and being regular.
And I do know in terms of government, you know I've worked plenty in in government hearings and those kind of things and.
You know so much happens behind the scenes and then the the hearings can sometimes go like that or they can go on forever and ever and ever.
If people get on, you know a talking Jag or something like that but.
Yeah, to me the idea of of a of an entire legislative body talking about knives for a period of time.
It's amazing to me because it's just not, you know.
Not in my experience.
Well at that's part of what we fight.
It's it's, you know.
It's very few peoples priorities so we have to try and make it interesting enough and useful enough that they can look at it and say, OK, this is worth doing.
And that's also often why it's not unusual for us to get our bills to get voted on, you know, in the last hours of a session amongst a bunch of bills that are of lower priority than the.
Budget or serious criminal law or or the things that really get the headlines.
And we have to be there to make that happen.
You know you were talking about kitchen knives before in terms of being the dangerous ones and.
We had a funny conversation on one of the live shows ones where we were kind of well, if I were to be stabbed, I'd want it to be and people would name these extravagant custom knives.
Obviously, something that does not happen.
It does happen with these cheesy kitchen knives and then you look over in and.
And I do mean cheesy because oftentimes you see pictures of murder weapons and that's the cheapest dollar store.
Now, if you could possibly get and then you look over in England a couple of years ago they were trying to.
Outlaw having points on even kitchen knives.
And it really made me that to me, that was a really comical illustration of how you cannot breathe the anger and the murderousness out of people by changing something as ridiculous as doing something as ridiculous as making sure that all kitchen knives are dull on the point like it's important to
recognize that a lot of the laws that we have on the books and it is the nature of politicians.
That when something happens they have to do something, and oftentimes what they do is really stupid.
And you know, we we have been party to defeating some of those efforts.
Just as we've been party to numerous lawsuits, getting rid of bad laws.
That need to do something.
Really overrides common sense and and.
That's how we end up.
I would have nothing to do if common sense was common.
It's funny you say that do something thing and you know in in those horrible moments of anguish after school shooting or something like that.
That's what you hear.
A lot of people just do something, do something and and I get it because it's such a an emotional time.
But that is a really emotional reaction.
Just doing something you know leads to almost always leads to bad.
Yeah, yeah, just doing something you know and then like you said.
It takes incredible effort to repeal.
You know that it's that common trope once your freedoms.
Are are given up.
There's so much harder to regain than they would have been just to maintain.
Yeah, I mean and.
Again, I wouldn't have anything to do if we didn't have people that reacted like that, whether it was after the civil war or in the 50s was with automatic knives.
That all became pure politics had nothing to do with reality.
Whether it was racism.
After the Civil War, the whole mess with the supposed juvenile delinquents and gangs, which were often persons of color in the 1950s.
Again, that's one of the reasons that we get so much support from the left.
But they all of these laws are, you know, politics is motivated by the need to create headlines to get people elected.
I mean, that's the nature of the beast.
You know the old days, it was newspapers these days.
That sort of thing.
You know they want headlines and they don't.
They don't get headlines for doing nothing, or certainly not very friendly ones.
That's the nature of the beast.
So they do stupid stuff.
And you know, we've spent the last 12 years on doing stupid stuff.
Yeah, those decisions that you make in life, uh, under duress or?
During times of high emotion.
You know they can be sketchy decisions.
Oftentimes you might find that you haven't made the right decision.
You found something informed more by emotion and imagination, and also if you're a politician, a desire to make other people think you're doing something, you know doing something, anything.
And and and that's what we fight.
The good news is that, at least in our case, we can go to the legislature.
We can present our case, got a good sponsor, work the bills and and get things done.
I mean, when I started knife rides, a lot of the reaction that we got from people in the industry was you're never going to repeal the switchblade ban.
There's no way to get rid of these laws.
It's just the nature of the beast and we deal with.
And there were relatively few people making switchblades back in the day.
When I started this.
Now you know all these manufacturers who didn't have automatic knives now produce automatic knives because they can sell them in a whole lot more states than when we started, and it's become much more accepted.
But yeah, nobody I. I would not have bet that I would have been as successful as we've been at at doing this, honestly.
It's been a lot harder than I thought it would be because I think that's the nature of life.
It's always harder than you think, but it's also incredibly satisfying when we get something done like in Virginia or Ohio, where it makes a huge difference.
So for you guys, it makes a difference because you know now you can have switch place.
Now you can have automatic knives.
Are gravity knives for that matter.
When we did Ohio one of the.
One of the best things we did was Ohio had some of the most vague and abused knife laws in the country, and now the only way you are criminally liable for having a knife of any kind is if it's actually used to commit a crime.
That you know people have gone to jail for carrying the wrong knife.
Now that will never happen.
In New York we had over 70,000 people are prosecuted for carrying common pocket knives.
That doesn't happen anymore.
But that was nine and a half years effort.
What do you think the next?
Or current knife.
Boogeyman is you know for so long it was the automatic knife and that is now in many, many, many places legal.
I am doing my part to regular regularize it to whatever the term is in the culture.
I show people at work.
Now I can carry this.
It's no big deal.
Oh, really cool.
You know we're we're all doing our thing, but what?
What is the boogeyman that's coming next?
I'm not sure.
A next issue.
Automatic knives continue to be the boogeyman in virtually every state that we work in.
And as I said, you know we've we've gotten a low hanging fruit.
Now we have places like Virginia that took a long time.
You know, we're busy in Pennsylvania, which is one of the states.
One of the remaining states that has an absolute ban on possession of automatic knives, with the exception of curious.
That the Dirk stagger stilettos.
The length limits and stuff like that are relatively rare and we generally get those cleaned up in the process of taking care of automatic knives.
I mean, they've been a few exceptions where it's taking longer, like Texas, but.
Generally, you know if if we can get over the hump with the automatic knives with switchblades then the rest comes relatively easy.
I won't say it's easy, but you know the the.
The other thing that we focus on is like we did in Ohio this year is preemption because it's all very well and good to get the laws changed at the state level.
But if you cross the city line and you go for having a legal knife in the illegal knife, which is still the possibility in Virginia, then that is not fair.
It's not, it's not good.
It's so so some.
Some in some states we've gotten preemption done 1st and then got rid of knife bands and others.
The majority of states we've gotten rid of knife bends and then gotten preemption.
There have been a few states where we've gotten it all.
You know, a complete.
Life reform package in one bill, but that's pretty rare.
You know, we have to come back in Virginia and get preemption done.
That's the next step so you don't cross the city line and find yourself.
OK now I'm a criminal.
So maybe I should kind of ease up on the celebration and the running around showing off my switchblades of making sure I know what city I'm in before I and we have an app for that.
You know our legal blade app.
While it doesn't have well, it only has about 40 cities in it.
The 40 largest cities that have bad knife laws.
We have links in the legal blade app and on our website so you can check on the codes in the particular towns and cities you're going to.
And know whether you're going to have a problem or not and and let's face it, you know the vast majority of times.
You're not going to have a problem, because why is the cop going to stop you?
But the calls I get are, well, I had a traffic stop, or, you know I was drunk or and.
Then everything starts falling apart, yeah, so it's not a problem until it's a problem, and then it's a huge problem and then it could be a huge problem.
How does the how does it happen that Bali songs which take a considerable amount of skill?
How did they get lumped in with switchblades which take no skill?
So that goes back to the original federal definition of in the Federal Switchblade Act, which includes the words inertia.
Oh, because they were talking, they weren't talking about balisongs, they were talking about gravity knives but.
The fact of the matter is that that has morphed into covering Valley songs.
Now, not everybody agrees.
I mean, New York State.
Automatics are still illegal, but balisongs have been legal for years because of a. Court decision that says no, these aren't switchblades because of because of the definition of a switchblade and gravity knife that existed in New York.
But yeah, that's how it happens.
You come up with a definition, nobody.
When when they pass these in the 50s, nobody knew what a balisong was.
What's a butterfly knife?
And but they didn't like gravity knives.
They wanted to make sure the federal Social Aid Act covered gravity knives so they threw in this inertia component of the definition and all of a sudden.
We're making balisongs they they should call it the the flash and clack clause.
It's like if it flashes or it makes a clickety clack sound.
Oh no, no that's that that sounds like a dangerous knife.
Ah, yeah, I'll go for that.
I don't know.
I don't know, you know, you play stupid games, win stupid prizes as they say.
So you were at Blade show this year and I I did not see you.
I saw a number of knife rides people, but what did you think of the show this year?
I thought it was great.
I mean, the crowds were good.
We did pretty well at at at the booth in terms of donations.
You know a lot more people there than last year, which was the first show after the pandemic.
You know the the so, so we did the NRA annual meeting the week prior.
Or the yeah the week prior to Blade show and folks weren't spending money, but at Blake show they were spending money.
I think knife enthusiasts.
Are still excited about their hobby if you will, and so.
It was a good show for most of the folks I know.
We picked up an incredible amount of really cool knives which are now in our tail end bonus.
The the You know Blade show is expanding.
You've got Blade show West Blade show Texas Blade OS is moving to Salt Lake City this year, which is a great city to have a much better than in California.
So I'm looking forward to that that the enthusiasm that we see from.
Night collectors and those is really great and.
You know we like some of those folks or a lot of those folks to support what we're doing because.
You know the reason they can buy a lot of the knives that they can buy is the work that we do and.
I can't do it without the funds.
It's that simple.
I don't like that.
But we have to raise funds in order to pay expenses and do what we do.
I, I think that the enthusiasm between or or or maybe the maintained and only ever increasing enthusiasm of the knife buying public.
I mean, I saw a huge uptick.
Just anecdotally, during the pandemic when people are at home saving money just being home, and some people got stimulus checks on top of other stuff, and so they were spending money and still saving money at the same time.
So I think a lot of people were buying knives.
I think that never ohk there's no question knife sales increased exponentially.
It was like Christmas every day, yeah, and you get hit by inflation.
Well, there is a host of really well made inexpensive knives these days coming out of factories, magical factories in China that are just producing incredibly well engineered knives for a song.
So really, I think knife collectors, if they needed a a fixed so to speak.
And they, you know.
Didn't you know they they had pandemic money but not that Chris Reeve money?
Well then maybe they're buying a couple of saves here and there.
I just feel like it never slowed down and by the time I got to blade show, yeah, it was a blockbuster.
People could not wait to get there.
You know this this is good for the community.
This is good for us.
When when industry is doing well?
I, I'm certainly not complaining because I have a stake in this.
You know I can't.
I can't do what I do and I fry to if if I didn't have my own knife line that's been doing very well so.
You know it's it's all good.
Biggest problem most most.
Knife manufacturers have these days.
They can't make enough.
Yeah, they probably can't get enough materials.
How do you account for the lack of enthusiasm or I should say the difference in the level of enthusiasm between what you saw at the NRA show and what you saw at Blade show?
Why do you think that is?
Well, first of all, I think a lot of people generally and the the folks that went to NRA were very concerned about the dollars.
They're worried about inflation.
There's there's a. There's a difference between guns and knives.
The collectors the enthusiasts that we're talking about the the folks that are watching this.
Need another knife, but they'd like another knife.
And they're willing to.
Maybe sell one knife, get another knife.
They have some some degree of disposable income, the the dollars and cents involved are are not.
There was nobody at NRA who.
Needed a new firearm and needed a new scope and.
It it just?
It's a different crowd.
They're enthusiastic about the Second Amendment, but OK, I've got firearms.
I'm buying ammo now.
OK, you know that's one advantage that I have over guns is is you don't have this this this.
This product that you need to get expendable.
Product in order to use that's a huge difference so.
I don't know it.
It was a very different crowd.
It was, it was not that we didn't see enthusiasm at NRA, but generally speaking, they weren't spending money like they were at Blasio.
And when you consider ammo, that's a whole other.
And and if we're talking about nerds and enthusiasts and by nerds, I mean people who go way down the rabbit hole on their subject matter of interest.
But you have two sides of it.
You could have an ammo geek who's just like totally into ammo, you know.
And yes, I have my firearms.
I've I have my bases covered.
No interest in acquiring more of those, but I'm always looking for the best ammo for this or that.
I don't know.
I'm not much of a shooter, but I would imagine there's also.
They in the in the firearm world, there's a just a broader range of things you can get into in the knife world.
Is it folding?
And then within those there are.
There are many.
Oh, I, I think you'd be surprised there's there's plenty of subvarieties and in the firearms world.
And there's plenty of subvarieties if you really think about it in the knife world.
I mean plenty.
I mean, you've got it, not just fixed or folder.
You've got traditional.
You've got opening mechanisms, you've got the steel used, the I mean the you know.
There are collectors who only buy stuff with mammoth on it.
You collectors who only buy Damascus bladed knives.
I mean there are there.
Yeah, traditional knives you know versus contemporary tactical knives versus.
I mean, there's there's there is an incredible variety.
One of the things I love about the knife community about the industry.
If you will, is the incredible variety.
If if you look at a bunch of guns laid out on a table that are all different.
No, it's the same to.
The average person who isn't an enthusiast, but you lay out a bunch of different knives on a table, and it's pretty obvious that there are some significant differences between them, and more than that, when you start looking closer and you see the craftsmanship or the ingenuity that goes into some
locking mechanism or some opening mechanism.
There is a lot more opportunity for that sort of stuff that is very visible.
You know someone comes out with a new firearm.
That's game changing.
But it's but it's all.
Internal doesn't look that much different on the outside.
And and you know, I'm a firearms enthusiast, I'm a knife enthusiast.
But the knives really get me excited and I think I think you see that when you go to Blade show.
Yeah, see the enthusiasm where, for whatever it is, if it's tactical nights, it's slip joints.
If it's modern slip joints versus traditional flip joints, they're all these sub genres that get people excited.
You know from from the perspective of knife rights, I don't care as long as you're excited and willing to help us continue to.
Work for freedom for knife owners to carry whatever they want.
I I celebrate the fact that there's.
All this variety that captures the imagination of all these different people, yeah, and that's that's actually one of the things you've been collecting knives ever since I was permitted to as a child.
That's one of the things I love most about it.
You know, on the wall behind me, I have historical examples.
I have one on the wall that my grandfather skin to bear with.
It's it's directly behind me.
I love historical knives.
I love swords.
I love big fixed blade knives.
I love tiny little folders.
I love slip joints, so that's the beauty of this.
It's kind of what you were saying before, you know, I sort of boiled it down to fixed or folder, but but naturally below that there's an endless tree with with endless branches coming off and I have a lot of those branches and that's the beauty part of being a a knife collector anyway.
If you have a collectors instinct is that you can go down.
You can have.
I have plenty of sub collections have a sub collection of bowies.
I have a sub collection of slip.
If you ever get bored with any any one area of it.
There's plenty of fertile ground over there all right, and you'll have to buy ammo for it exactly.
Yeah, so where does knife rates come down on things like Tomahawks and knife adjacent?
Tools so we have helped.
Get rid of bands on Tomahawks and that sort of thing.
Knife focused given the opportunity.
Which sometimes arises to get rid of bands on whether it's Tomahawks or clubs or knuckles.
We certainly don't shy away from that.
But we also deal with.
An ever greater amount of prejudice, if you will, of bias towards things like knuckles.
Umm, that oftentimes it's a question of, you know, we'll try to repeal an entire statute that includes switchblades, knuckles, other stuff.
And in order to get it passed, we need to get rid of all that other stuff just to get the nice pass.
And if that's what it takes, that's what we'll do.
But sometimes we can get it all done.
It just depends, but we are, you know, we're we're in the knife rights business, not tomahawk or or knuckles.
Wrights business they got to get their own guy.
And and we're happy to bring them along with us when the opportunity arises, thrilled to bring them along with us when the opportunity arises, because.
You know it all boils down to the fact that it's not the inanimate object, it's the person using them that's the problem.
And anytime we can get rid of a ban on an anonymous, inanimate object, I'm all for that.
So when we get the opportunity, we will.
Yeah, more freedom equals more freedom.
You mentioned before something about cleaning up when you're going state to state and you're working with the actual language of these laws that you that you attempt to.
In any case, clean up the language talking about Dirks and daggers and bowies and kind of some of these older like I'm vague about what a Dirk is I it's like a naval.
It's like a Nagle naval long knife.
As far as I know, I don't even know what the hell of Dirk is.
Some of the language in these things is is sort of antiquated, right?
I mean, sure, I mean, look how old it is.
I guess what I mean is.
Is leaving it in like a a tripwire?
In other words, oh we're gonna just leave this Dirk part in here because no one knows what Dirk is.
I've been I'm happy I can tell you that we've never found ourselves in a position where.
We've had to do that.
We've had some situations where we've had to negotiate lengths or something like that, where there's been length limits and over time eventually get rid of those.
But when we go in, the goal is to get rid of all the restrictions on knives.
And that's where we start in most cases.
Sometimes we go in in a difficult state.
Virginia beaming example, Pennsylvania being an example where OK. Let's do switchblades because believe it or not, that's the easy one.
And then we'll come back and clean up and take care of other stuff.
We'll take care of concealed carry issue or that sort of stuff.
Statehouse is different.
Every legislature is different.
The politics can change overnight.
You know we can have we had a bill going in Pennsylvania that I thought we had a really good chance of passing like five years ago six years ago.
And then there was a terrible stabbing at a school.
And you know, at that point, nobody's going to touch your bill.
So, OK, we'll come back because we have no choice.
It's the nature of politics, you know.
If if if they they say you can't be a good salesman unless you can take rejection, well, you can't be successful at politics.
And unless you can stand the frustration of having your bill killed for something that rationally doesn't make any difference, or because you know a couple of legislatures are having a ******* match and your bill ends up in the middle of it.
It's just nature of the bees.
It's incredibly frustrating.
But you know, if you want to do this and do it successfully, you're going to be dealing with that sort of thing.
You're going to be dealing with vetoes from governors who who shouldn't be vetoing a knife by any rational measure.
You know it's it's, it's just.
It's what we do.
It comes with the territory.
Yeah, you gotta have thick skin to do that kind of work, no doubt, and you also have to have conviction and a love for what you're defending.
No doubt about that either.
And you know, we're not going to talk much about it because I know these things you just can't keep them in stock over a knife works, but I'm sorry I got to do this.
I want to talk just a minute about your RSK.
Series these are.
These are my 2 current I had the large one.
I very jam a great brother.
I gave one to my brother God but yeah he loves it and drives his wife nuts with the flipping of it.
But so these knives, I love these knives.
Your Ritter survival knives.
You're very well known for for the folder which if you don't mind me saying, was originally you wanted a knife that had a super steel but a reasonable handle and and something that you could use for survival.
And people love the the RSK mark one formerly known as the Ritter Grip, now made by Hogue so beautifully.
These knives help to go fund knife right so when people buy these knives, they're putting money in a lot of different pockets.
But one of those pockets and important pockets is knife rights.
So to be clear, OK, the money from the sale of the knives doesn't go directly to knife rights, but I take no salary or no money from knife rights.
I can't spend 95% of my time like I do.
On knife rights.
If I don't have some income and that income comes from the knives, so when you buy one of my RK knives, you're supporting knife rights in that I can't do it otherwise.
Yeah, yeah, this is how I make a living that allows me if you will to make money while I sleep to make money while I'm doing knife right stuff.
And you know, I'm I'm humbled by the fact that people love the knives that they continue to be successful.
That the, whether it's new handles or or or new designs that we come up with.
People eat it up.
I mean that that is really humbling because.
If you had told me when we started out down this road in like 2006 that.
That I'd be making enough on knives to allow me to do something like knife rides.
I you know, I would not have bet money on that anymore than I'd bet money that we were going to be successful at at repealing as many laws as we have in knife rides.
So it's very gratifying that people's reaction to these knives has continued.
We you know it, it's great.
Hog is doing an incredible job quality wise and build wise.
They're knocking it out of the park.
For me it's really become a really super partnership.
I I don't know what to say.
I mean I well I. I hope people continue to buy the knives so that I can continue to do knife rights work.
I mean, that's the only way it works.
But having said that, we you know, please go to liferights.org and click on the ultimate steal because.
We still, you know, we still have expenses, and those knives don't cover that right?
And and the knives you know that that is a long way around for support.
I mean for immediate and the most important support.
It's to go to the ultimate steel and to donate there, because that's immediate cash on hand for knife rides to pay its bills and and do do the work you're doing.
You know, I love the fact that the knives continue to be successful.
If if anything growing.
I love the fact that people love the knives.
I just received an e-mail from a gentleman in South Africa.
Thanking me for.
The knife, because it had literally saved his life.
I mean, wow, that's that's an incredible feeling and you know a lot of knife designers have been in that situation.
And I mean, it doesn't get much better than that because.
The the the motivation to develop the RSK line and knives was to provide a incredible value with all the all the design features that I wanted in in terms of quality, steel quality, lock quality, build at a price.
If not inexpensive but at a price that someone could spend and afford to spend and use the knife, you know, I think it's great that there are people who.
Collect my knives and you know have every model and color variation that we've ever done.
That's that's incredible that someone does that.
But it's also incredible that the vast majority of the knives are brought to be used, and they're used every day.
And that's what I designed the knives for that was.
That was the design brief.
If you will is a knife that people could afford a knife to.
People that that people would use and appreciate the fit well in the hand that had good steel that held edge.
You know, and and it continues.
It's it's an Evergreen design, if you will, yeah, and there's one thing you didn't mention and that is that it has a. It's a good looking knife and that matters.
I don't care what you say, but it's a it's a good looking knife with boundless character and and that will.
That will keep people coming back.
I love that knife.
I love your designs, but even more than that I love knife rights.
Let people know how they can get in on the tail end.
Drawing of knife rights and just remind people what it is in case they're just tuning in.
Thing is, go to kniferights.org click at the top of the page is the link to the ultimate steel.
We've got like I say over $30,000 in the tail end bonus over almost $100,000, or just over $100,000 in the main drawing, so there's two drawings.
If you donate now, you get your opportunity to win in both drawings, and if you go to the site and look at the prices, we have some incredible knives.
I don't care whether you collect.
Slip joints where you collect tactical knives, fixed blades, hunters.
I mean whatever you collect, we have some of kitchen knives.
I mean, there's something of everything there and just some incredible knife makers who have been incredibly generous for us.
You know I can't do knife rights if we don't raise money.
It's really that simple and.
We have inflation, you know.
The sad fact is it's becoming more expensive.
You know we talked about how expensive travel has become and that's one of that's one of our very biggest expenses.
And you know when the price of a ticket double s, or at least goes up 20 thirty 40%.
That that hurts that really hurts.
Well, Doug Ritter, thank you so much for coming on the show and thank you for so much.
Thank you so much for everything that you do with knife rights.
It's greatly appreciated and well man, I'm sad I missed you this year, but next year I will.
I'll catch you in person again, eplay Joe, but again Sir, thank you so much.
It was a pleasure and everyone go to kniferights.org and help us continue this job that we do for your freedoms.
Do you carry multiple knives?
Then overthink which one to use when an actual cutting chore pops up, you're a knife junkie of the 1st order.
There he goes, ladies and gentlemen, the great and powerful Doug Ritter again go to the ultimate steel.
Go to kniferights.org, click on the ultimate steel, check out all the amazing knives you could win or choose as your prize, pick your prize and donate.
Help keep help get the rest of the states you know with their automatic knives and and other updated knife laws.
Join us again next week on Sunday for another great conversation with a knife luminary.
Join us on Wednesday for the Wednesday supplemental and Thursday night for the Thursday Night Knives live stream.
10:00 PM Eastern Standard Time here on Facebook and Twitch for Jim working his magic behind the Switcher.
I'm Bob DeMarco, saying until next time don't take dull for an answer.
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