Gun Retailer Denied Little League Sponsorship

Weekly news, tips, trivia, fun facts, and wild tales from the outdoors

March 10, 2010

Gun Retailer Denied Little League Sponsorship

Nothing is more aggravating to baseball fans than a
bad call by those officiating the game. And in New Jersey last week, the committee in
charge of a little league program made a real stinker. We also bring you a
story of one state’s adoption of the Cowboy Code, a near-record bear season in New York, and more!

Bad Call
In an 8-1 vote last week, the South Orange-Maplewood (N.J.) Babe Ruth/Cal
Ripken baseball league rejected an offer from a local licensed firearms
retailer to become a $300 sponsor for his son’s team because of the “potential
controversy” it could cause.

J.R. Absher

Matt Carmel, owner of Constitution Arms in Maplewood, called the decision “arbitrary,
capricious and unfair.”

According to the New Jersey Star-Ledger newspaper, the gun dealer and
NRA-certified pistol instructor offered to sponsor his son’s little league team
for an annual fee of $300 — which would have included shirts bearing his
store’s name — but was soundly rebuffed by the volunteer committee that
oversees the league.

“Personally … given the nature of that business, I’m certain there’d be
quite a bit of contention,” Craig Gruber, secretary of the committee, told the
newspaper. “We don’t need the headache … we have our hands full with
deciding whether infield fly rules should be in effect for 9-year-olds.”

When learning of the situation in Maplewood,
the president of the nation’s leading firearms trade association, the National
Shooting Sports Foundation, wrote a letter to the Star-Ledger supporting Carmel and the shooting

“As much as baseball is part of the history and fabric of American culture,
so too is the Second Amendment, hunting and target shooting. The latter are
activities that millions of youth participate in across America,” wrote NSSF president
Steve Sanetti.

Sanetti went on to explain why it was patently
unfair for the little league committee to attach any type of negative stigma to
the responsible use and legal sale of firearms.

“The shooting sports are safe and fun for all, and a day at the range is an
activity the entire family can enjoy. The lessons that organized youth sports
teach involving sportsmanship, respect for teammates and authority, and winning
and losing also apply to the shooting sports.”

And the letter concluded: “Since this was a policy call and not an ‘on the
field’ judgment call, we urge a review of the decision before the umpires yell
‘play ball!'”

Packing In The Field? Know Your State Regs!
Last week, a measure allowing Tennessee
concealed carry permit holders to carry handguns while bowhunting
passed the state House by a vote of 85-3. A similar bill is on track to go
before the full Senate in a few days. HB0770 sponsor Mike Turner (D-Nashville)
said he drafted the measure after a constituent told him about being robbed in
a parking lot while returning to his vehicle from archery deer hunting.

In an appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee, Nat Johnson of the
Tennessee Wildlife Resources Commission said legislation approved last year
allows handgun permit holders to carry their weapons on wildlife management
areas and other public lands, but it failed to address the statute barring
archery-only deer hunters from carrying handguns.

Last year, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources clarified
its hunting equipment regulations to allow hunters who hold valid concealed carry
weapon permits to carry firearms during archery-only or archery/crossbow
hunting seasons, and to “carry firearms and ammunition that may be contrary to
hunting equipment caliber or ammunition requirements.”

While some states currently allowing hunters to carry firearms for personal
protection restrict the privilege to CCW permit holders, others require open
carry. Still others restrict handgun barrel length and ammunition type.

When considering whether to carry a firearm for protection while afield, the
best advice is simple: do some online research beforehand or check with the
local authorities and conservation law enforcement personnel and become
familiar with the specific laws and regulations.     

N.Y. Hunters Have Near-Record Bear Season
New York
hunters killed 1,487 bears in 2009, reflecting a 15 percent increase from the
previous year and the second-highest total on record.

The 2009 increase was attributed to a surge in the Adirondack
region, where the 814 bears taken in 2009 was 40 percent more than 2008. The
record kill of 1,864 bears was recorded in 2003.

While overall population size plays the largest role in the annual harvest,
the take numbers are also strongly influenced by environmental factors that
affect bear movements and the timing of bear denning,
such as food availability and snowfall.

The 2009 early bear season proved to be the most productive time for hunters
in the Adirondacks, accounting for more than
50 percent of the bear harvest. Bears were more active during the early season
due to poor production of soft mast (cherries and berries), and their increased
activity was a benefit for hunters.

Live By The Code
Last Wednesday, Wyoming Governor Dave Freudenthal
signed legislation adopting an official Wyoming
state code based on the tenets known in the West as “Cowboy Ethics.”

Although the historic Code of the West was unwritten, cowboys, trappers,
hunters, and others in the U.S.
frontier knew it was about maintaining honesty, integrity and courage in a
wide-open region where the affects of government barely reached and laws were
not always enforced.

More recently, the code’s 10 Principles were outlined in a popular 2004
book, “Cowboy Ethics: What Wall Street Can Learn from the Code of the West,” by
retired Wall Street investor James Owen.

The measure’s sponsor, Sen. Jim Anderson, (R-Glenrock), said Owen’s book captured his interest, and inspired him to
introduce the bill after seeing the December premier of a related video
project, “The Code of the West: Alive and Well in Wyoming.”

“There’s a work ethic in all things that we do, particularly in
government,” Anderson

Here are the 10 Principles of Cowboy Ethics:

1. Live each day with courage

2. Take pride in your work

3. Always finish what you start

4. Do what has to be done

5. Be tough, but fair

6. When you make a promise, keep it

7. Ride for the brand

8. Talk less and say more

9. Remember that some things aren’t for sale

10. Know where to draw the line

Though the bill is merely a symbolic gesture, carries no criminal penalties
and is not meant to replace any civil codes, here at the News Hound, we think it
reflects a pretty valuable ideology.

Here at the Outdoor News Hound, we think those on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.
should adopt something similar. And then live by it!

Quote Of The Week
“I like to hunt alone. Being alone with my dogs is special. By myself I can put
down as many dogs as I like, and if one makes a mistake I don’t have to explain
it to anyone.”
-Ben O. Williams
“Hunting the Quails of North America,” 2001

J.R. Absher is a freelance outdoor writer whose articles and columns appear
in numerous national publications. He offers his unique perspective of the
outdoors weekly for You may contact him at