It has been a month since BLADE Show and we still have plenty of content left in the queue. While we do our share of reblogging and news coverage, I am always most proud of the content that is original to TTAK. The two TTAK crown jewels from this year’s show are our interviews with Knife Rights’ Chairman Doug Ritter of KnifeRights.org and Sal Glesser, industry legend and founder of Spyderco Knives. It is one of the things that I love about Blade, that it is a 3-day total immersion in the knife world, and leaves me with a plethora of ideas and rabbit holes to chase. It just takes a while to get to everything.
David was the driving force behind getting video of the interview. Without David, we would have only crappy iPhone shot footage, and none of the post-production cleanup. Thanks Brother, for all of your help making TTAK’s Blade Show coverage the best on the internet.
You will find the video embedded below, along with a selection of quotes that highlight the interview.
Highlighted quotes and time-stamps:
(0:16) HCA: “Do you ever miss the days where you were just doing knife design and blogging?”
“Yeah…KnifeRights has become one of those careful what you wish for experiences. We’ve actually ended up where we wanted to be. Making a difference, changing the laws, but it turns out to be an all consuming job. It’s not a part-time avocation at all.”
“It’s a wonderful feeling knowing that what we’re doing is making a difference to literally millions of Americans. We really are rewriting knife law in America. Something that hadn’t been touched in decades. “
“We explain this to legislators all the time. Knives are tools. They’re used by millions of Americans everyday, at home, at work, recreationally. But every once in a while they are used as a weapon…as an arm. And that’s protected by the Second Amendment. The Second Amendment doesn’t say “firearms” it says “arms”. Certainly when it was written, knives were an arm that everyone carried…
..to one group of people we talk about the Second Amendment, to another we talk about tools. What is extraordinary about our success, is that when you look at the votes on our bills, it’s a better than 10:1 majority that vote in favor. You do not get that going only after Conservatives or Second Amendment supporters. You get that because the vast majority of people, when you explain to them, get it. This is a tool. How it opens, how long it is, it doesn’t matter”.
(5:15) HCA: “What was the germ that started all of this?”
“It was an article that ran in the Wall Street Journal…all about these “evil tactical knives:. It was pretty much like every bad article you have ever read about “assault rifles” just substitute “tactical knives”. It was terrible, there wasn’t an ounce of truth to it…What happened was I got pissed.
And I had an epiphany, there was no NRA for knife owners. There was an industry organization, but they didn’t respond to that article until weeks had gone past. There was no proactive, grass-roots organization out there preventing what had happened in Europe and England where I had traveled and where knife owners are ostracized and the kind of knives that everyone carries in America are illegal. And I decided, maybe we should try to do something about that. I posted on a bunch of the knife forums on the internet, saying this is what I am thinking about doing and what do you think? People seemed interested. That’s what launched KnifeRights..Doug got pissed.”
(7:40) HCA: “What was the first major success?”
“The first success was when US Customs tried to say that “assisted opening” knives and one-hand opening knives were switchblades. That was a group effort between KnifeRights, AKTI, the NRA…a bunch of organizations. We succeeded agains all odds, at getting the 5th exemption to the Federal Switchblade Act passed”.
“One of the secrets of our success, is that we dont take “No” for an answer and we’re stubborn. If we don’t get it this year, we’ll get it next year. And we will keep coming back until we get it.
That has worked. Tennessee is a great example. Texas is a good example. We got switchblades repealed one year, we didn’t get everything we wanted this year, but we did get preemption which was vitally important, but we will be back next session and we will get it done. We don’t give up.”
(10:00) HCA: “What is the ultimate brass ring for you?”
“I think the ultimate brass ring is pretty straightforward. That anyone in the United States can carry any knife they want without worrying about being arrested. We have got a lot of states to go, we have the Federal Switchblade Act, but those are all I believe attainable. Every success we have opens more opportunities. The greatest challenge is raising enough money to take advantage of all of those opportunities”.
(12:30) HCA: “What do you say to people, members of knife rights that live in states you haven’t gotten to who wonder if they are getting a return for their support?”
“We’re coming. The folks that contribute tio our success today, are paving the way for our success in their states eventually. When 40 states allow something, it becomes a lot more difficult for those 10 to say no.
This is no different than what happened with firearms law preemption that the NRA started two decades ago. There is the low hanging fruit, the stuff in the middle that you really have to fight for, and then you drag those last few through because really, at that point they don’t have any arguments. It worked in all these other states, blood did not run in the streets. They’ve lost their one argument, that if you pass this, people are going to die. We know that doesn’t happen. We now have proof that doesn’t happen.
So, to the folks in Massachusetts and other places that feel like they’ll never get it, We’re coming to help you. It’s going to take a while, but we’re going to be there.”
The interview concluded with Doug’s paying us a tremendous compliment. I have know that he subscribes to all of our posts and has left the occasional comment, but he has apparently been following us more closely than that.
“I’ve enjoyed watching the blog grow, and you mature into a force in the knife world”.
Needless to say, that is about the highest compliment that we could have received. I would like to thank all my wiriters and of you who have helped TTAK grow into the community that it has become.
All of us would like to thank Doug for both the work he does on all our behalf, but also for taking the time to sit down with us and share his thoughts on the state of knife freedom in America.