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UPDATE: 2012 Sharper Future™ Award Winners

Knife Rights’ Sharper Future™ Awards were presented on June 9th during BLADE Show in Atlanta. Georgia. We’d like to thank our Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast sponsors who made it possible to recognize these freedom fighters who have demonstrated their commitment to a Sharper Future™:

Georgia State Senator Bill Heath Receives Knife Rights Freedom’s Edge™ Award

Sharper Future 2012 Breakfast MapKnife Rights is pleased to announce that Georgia State Senator William “Bill” Heath is the recipient of its 2012 Freedom’s Edge™ Award which was presented at the Knife Rights Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast on June 9th during BLADE Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Senator Heath represents District 31 in Georgia.

Senator Heath was recognized for his leadership in sponsoring Georgia SB432, Knife Rights’ Knife Law Preemption bill, which was recently signed into law by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal.  SB432 establishes knife law preemption in Georgia, repealing all local knife laws more restrictive than state law and confirming the state legislature as the sole authority on knife laws in Georgia.  

The annual Freedom’s Edge™ Award honors a local, state or national elected representative who has demonstrated their commitment to a Sharper Future™ by leadership in the fight to protect or enhance our knife rights.  

After hearing about the patchwork of restrictive knife ordinances throughout Georgia and the potential for interference with exhibitors and attendees at the BLADE Show held annually in Atlanta, Senator Heath introduced Knife Rights’ knife preemption legislation.

“Senator Bill Heath set a stellar example for state legislators everywhere by shepherding this civil rights bill through the legislative process,” said Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter. “It was not an easy process, but Senator Heath’s commitment and experience made it happen for the millions of knife owners of Georgia, as well as for thousands of attendees at the annual BLADE Show & Cutlery Fair,  the biggest knife show in the world,” Ritter added.  

Senator Heath’s leadership made it possible for Georgia to become the fourth state in the nation to enact Knife Law Preemption. His efforts enacted a strong preemption law which will protect Georgia knife owners from senseless local ordinances well into the future. The Freedom’s Edge™ Award represents a Sharper Future™ for all knife owners.

Preemption prevents the creation of, or eliminates, a patchwork of ordinances and rules which serve to confuse or entrap those traveling within or through the state. A person traveling in a state without preemption laws could be charged with a violation of local law when they have no intention of violating the law. Preemption ensures citizens only have to know and abide by state law. 

 Mike Vellekamp Receives Knife Rights Freedom’s Point™ Award

 
Sharper Future 2012 Breakfast MapKnife Rights is pleased to announce that Mike “Mikey” Vellekamp i
s the recipient of its 2012 Freedom’s Point™ Award which was presented at the Knife Rights Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast on June 9th during BLADE Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Vellekamp is a co-founder, co-owner and designer at Fox Knives USA, a knife manufacturer and importer based in Puyallup, Washington.

The annual Freedom’s Point™ Award honors an individual citizen or citizens who has/hav
e demonstrated their commitment to a Sharper Future™ by leadership in the fight to protect or enhance our knife rights. 

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “Mikey is being recognized for his personal initiative in addressing Washington state’s burdensome and irrational switchblade statute that also technically outlawed assisted-opening knives and outlawed the manufacture of both assisted-opening knives and automatic knives in the state. Mikey didn’t just complain and wait for someone else to fix the problem, he did something about it.”  

Ritter continued, “Knife Rights was only too happy to provide assistance, including sending our lobbyist to the state capitol to assist in getting the bill revised to accomplish the desired ends and getting it through committee hearing.”

Blaine Smith Receives Knife Rights Freedom’s Voice™ Award


Sharper Future 2012 Breakfast MapBlaine Smith, an associate editor at America’s 1st Freedom Magazine, is the recipient of Knife Rights’ 2012 Freedom’s Voice™ Award. The honor was presented at the Knife Rights Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast on June 9th at the BLADE Show in Atlanta, Georgia.  

The annual Freedom’s Voice™ Award honors a journalist or journalistic team in the general or non-knife industry media that has demonstrated a commitment to fair, accurate and insightful coverage on an issue involving knife ownership.

Knife Rights chairman Doug Ritter said, “Mr. Smith is recognized for his ‘Will Knives Fold?‘ article that appeared in the December 2011 issue of NRA’s America’s 1st Freedom Magazine.  In this in-depth, feature-length article, Smith connected the dots for NRA members, between their long fight in defense of the Second Amendment  and our more recent efforts in the Second Front in Defense of the Second Amendment.”

The article explains that knife owners face “startling parallels to the anti-gun movement” and calls on  NRA members to take note and support this fight. Smith relates the sordid history of knife control efforts, the formation of Knife Rights and what we are doing to roll back irrational knife laws and fight against new knife restrictions, both in state houses and in the courts.

Knife Rights believes its goals to preserve and enhance the rights of knife owners make sense to most citizens, if given a fair airing. “We honor Mr. Smith for providing a very readable accounting of the issues and for the effectiveness of his call to action,” said Ritter.

Mr. Smith’s article, “Will Knives Fold?,” may be viewed online at: http://bit.ly/rTwKBy 

Roger Claunch Receives Knife Rights Freedom’s Guardian™ Award

 
Sharper Future 2012 Breakfast MapKnife Rights is pleased to announce that Roger Claunch is the recipient of its 2012 Freedom’s Guardian™ Award which was presented at the Knife Rights Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast on June 9th during BLADE Show in Atlanta, Georgia. Mr. Claunch is the founder and owner of KnifeWorks.com, a knife retailer located in Columbia, Louisiana.

The annual Freedom’s Guardian™ award honors a knife manufacturer or industry partner that has demonstrated their commitment to a Sharper Future™ by their support of the fight to protect or enhance our knife rights.

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “Since the day Roger was introduced to Knife Rights it seems he has never said “no,” regardless of the request. Roger was one of the first to make a very substantial donation to the Knife Rights Sharper Future Legal Fund in our fight against New York City. He has continued to make additional generous donations, as well as donations of knives and services.”  

Ritter continued, “Roger serves as a shining example to others in the industry of the support we need  to help Knife Rights fight for a Sharper Future for all Americans. We are extremely grateful for his continued generous support.”

“Knife Rights is succeeding far out of proportion to its size in part due to the industry support we have received. We sincerely appreciate those in industry who help us get so much done that is critical to knife owners, and the industry as well. This award is a way to publicly acknowledge and honor these guardians of our freedoms,” said Ritter.

Jason Hobbs Receives Inaugural Knife Rights Carry a Knife – Save a Life™ Award


RW&B Spacer LineKnife Rights is pleased to announce that Jason Hobbs is the recipient of its inaugural Carry a Knife – Save a Life™ Award which was presented at the Knife Rights Sharper Future™ Awards Breakfast on June 9th during BLADE Show in Atlanta, Georgia.

Mr. Hobbs, of Leander, Texas, is being honored for the use of his Spyderco Caly 3.5 one-hand opening, lock blade pocket knife to save the life of his 6-year-old son Rivers who was attacked by a mountain lion on February 5, 2012.

The Carry a Knife – Save a Life™ Award is to be given annually to honor an individual citizen who has used their every-day-carry (EDC) knife to save a life, demonstrating the practical advantages to always carrying a knife in order to be prepared for situations when a knife is invaluable, up to and including saving lives.

Knife Rights Chairman Doug Ritter said, “Jason Hobbs’ action to save his son’s life from the unprovoked mountain lion attack is a dramatic testimony to the practical value of always carrying a knife and of the practical advantage that one-hand opening offers. You never know when your knife will be the difference between life and death; these situations cannot be foreseen, but if you don’t have a knife handy when needed, lives can be, and often are, lost.”  

Ritter continued, “The real-life functional advantages of a one-hand opening knife cannot be denied.  Politically motivated, irrational restrictions on knife carry by law-abiding citizens puts lives at risk. Knife Rights is committed to working to allow citizens to carry these versatile tools in order to save lives. Carry a Knife, Save a Life™”

Hobbs was accompanied at the award ceremony by his sons Rivers, who was attacked, and Hagen.  All three were presented by Erik Glasser of Spyderco with Spyderco one-hand-opening folders engraved to memorialize the award.

The Incident:

RW&B Spacer LineJason Hobbs, his wife Kristi Harris and their two boys, Rivers (age 6) and Hagen (age 4), were vacationing at Big Bend National Park in Texas when the attack occurred. At approximately 8 p.m. on Sunday, February 5th, 2012, the first day of their vacation, they were leaving the restaurant at Chisos Mountains Lodge after dinner. They headed to their room with each parent gripping one boy’s hand.

The mountain lion dragged Rivers from his mother’s hand into a bush next to the walkway. The lion was standing over the young boy and had its powerful jaws locked onto Rivers’ face. Hobbs reached for his hunting knife he had carried on his belt when they went hiking earlier in the day, but that was left in the room when they went to dinner.  Hobbs then pulled his Spyderco Caly 3.5 folding knife from his pocket, opened the blade with one hand and stabbed the lion. The lion immediately released Rivers and ran off.

Rivers needed 17 stitches to close the wounds on his face.  The Park Service  eventually located what they believed to be the rogue lion and it was killed.