Little League Rejects Gun Sponsor

Filed under: In The News

Matt Carmel's offer to sponsor a New Jersey youth baseball team was rejected. (Photo courtesy of Matt Carmel)

Matt Carmel's offer to sponsor a New Jersey youth baseball team was rejected. Credit: Matt Carmel


A licensed gun dealer in New Jersey wants to sponsor a local youth baseball team, but his application was rejected. Now he's going out with a bang,

In October 2009, certified National Rifle Association instructor Matt Carmel -- who owns Constitution Arms -- applied to sponsor a team in the Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball league. In his application to the South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Committee, he included "two letters of justification ... explaining the benefits of firearms, [and] all the sporting activities," such as the recent Winter Olympics.

"A week ago Sunday I received an e-mail from the committee saying that they had voted 8-1 against me and no reason was forthcoming," Carmel tells ParentDish.

When he inquired further, Kate Schmidt, the acting director of the South Orange Department of Recreation and Cultural Affairs, "conveyed a message to me from the committee saying, 'Well, we'll let you sponsor, but you can't use the word arms.' I said, 'OK, how about guns?,'" Carmel added with a laugh.

We were unable to reach Ms. Schmidt for comment.

While Carmel says he is "not suprised how it turned out," he feels that he is being singled out.

"They allow sponsors to sell liquor and tobacco," he says referring to Kwik Chek, a local grocery store that carries those items. "They allow the veterans of foreign wars, which some might argue glorifies war and violence." A list of team sponsors is available here.

Online, sentiment seems to be split.

At SouthOrangeVillage.com, commenter "TigerLilly" wonders if those who feel it was wrong to reject Constitution Arms as a sponsor "would feel the same way if it had been Planned Parenthood or the local abortion clinic."

At NJ.com, "sisteranne," wrote, "This is America. The man's allowed to own the gun store, and the team is allowed to decline his money."

In the mean time, Carmel has found another team that will allow him to be a sponsor -- Morris Rugby, a co-ed youth flag rugby league in a nearby town.

"I want to advocate for the Second Amendment," Carmel says, "I think it's extremely important. It's important to show my kids that you stand up for what you believe. You don't take it lying down."

Related: Little Leaguer Pitches Perfect Game - AND SHE'S A GIRL!

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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.