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Knife Rights in tiff with M&M’s maker over canceled candy order

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Today’s edition of the e-mail “News Slices” from Knife Rights, Inc. – the group founded to fight onerous regulations on knives – asserts that Mars candy company, the makers of M&Ms, has rejected an order for promotional packages of the popular candy for the organization, allegedly because the word “knife” in the group’s logo “is not family friendly.”

This came after the group apparently placed an order for more than $1,450 worth of M&Ms in customized packages. Knife Rights supplied Examiner and The Gun with copies of the order price estimate and an agreement signed by Sue Ritter. Knife Rights Chairman and Executive Director Doug Ritter asserted that four days after placing the M&Ms order, Knife Rights was notified by a customer service representative that the order would not be filled. That was when the alleged remark about “knife” was made.

The dust-up occurs only a few days before leading national Second Amendment advocate Alan Gottlieb is scheduled to be the keynoter at the Knife Rights fifth annual Sharper Future awards breakfast at the BLADE Show in Atlanta this coming Saturday. Gottlieb was a key supporter in the formation of Knife Rights a few years ago, because the Second Amendment protects the right to keep and bear arms, not just firearms. Gottlieb is founder and executive vice president of the Second Amendment Foundation and chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms.

In his newsletter, Ritter stated, “The candy was ordered for an upcoming promotion through M&Ms' customized Business to Business department. The customer service representative…was very helpful and the order was placed. Then four business days later we received a call from (him) to let us know that they would not fill the order since ‘the word knife is not family friendly’.”

“We asked for a confirmation in writing of what he had told us,” Ritter added, “but when that was not forthcoming, we sent an email to him confirming the conversation we had and asking the company to correct anything that wasn't factually correct. Shortly thereafter, (his) supervisor…called. We had a similar conversation with her, to no avail, and again asked that they confirm that they were rejecting the order for the reasons...that the word "knife" was not ‘family friendly’.”

At the time the Second Amendment was written, common arms included knives, hatchets and swords. Even today, the pocket knife is one of the most common tools around, and no serious shooter or hunter is without one. Fixed blade or folding hunting and utility knives are used by outdoorsmen and women all over the map, and there is probably not a home in the country that does not have at least one knife.

Examiner reached out to Mars candy for a comment. So far, there has been no response. Examiner spoke briefly to the customer service representative who initially dealt with Knife Rights, but he referred this column to the public relations department.

Knife Rights Chairman and Executive Director Doug Ritter asserted that four days after placing the M&Ms order, Knife Rights was notified by a customer service representative that the order would not be filled. That was when the alleged remark about “knife” was made.

According to Ritter’s account of the events, Mars sent the group an e-mail that stated the company had “received and processed your request to cancel your order.” Ritter called the e-mail “disingenuous.” Ritter, in this morning’s News Slices, reported that he sent this reply:

“Thanks for this, but your email falsely states that this order is being cancelled at my request. Please note that I do NOT wish for the order to be cancelled -- it was your company decision to cancel the order because you object to the name and mission of our civil rights organization. I have had several phone calls with representatives of your company trying to save this order. Your cancellation notice falsely stating that the order was cancelled at my request only adds insult to injury, and is outrageous.”

The BLADE Show is billed as “the world’s largest knife show.” It is an event that unveils new knife models whether folders or fixed blades, custom knives and just about anything having to do with cutting instruments. There are seminars on knife design and construction, and one can find anything from the traditional to the exotic in the various displays.

Gottlieb’s remarks Saturday will reportedly zero on knives being protected by the right to keep and bear arms. In many jurisdictions, mere possession of a pocket knife can land someone in legal hot water. Knife Rights is engaged in a court battle against knife laws in New York City that have penalized many people for merely using pocket knives for legitimate activities.



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