Gun Phobia in the News: Gun Dealer Denied Little-League Team, Unlike 'Cluck-U Chicken'

Cam Edwards at NRANews.com passed along a New Jersey Star-Ledger story showing how gun dealers are held in low esteem. Matt Carmel of Maplewood, New Jersey was rejected when he applied to sponsor a little-league baseball team:

Carmel, a licensed gun dealer, applied to sponsor a team in the local Babe Ruth/Cal Ripken baseball league, using the name of his business — Constitution Arms.

He was rebuffed.

"Arbitrary, capricious and unfair," Carmel said of the perceived slight. "I don’t like being pigeonholed."

But what really makes the story maddening (and worth wider attention and commentary) are the sponsors that have been allowed:

But, Carmel notes, other sponsors could be deemed "inappropriate" as well. The league overseers, he said, have permitted sellers of liquor and tobacco, as well as a Cluck-U Chicken eatery whose promos feature a scantily clad woman in a bikini with the suggestive words "Large Breasts, Juicy Thighs. Luscious Legs."

One would think that people who are nervous about controversy might avoid a "Cluck-U Chicken" team for young boys. Here’s more detail:

It all started in October, when Carmel, an NRA certified pistol instructor and licensed firearm dealer, sent a letter to the South Orange-Maplewood Baseball Committee, which oversees 120 softball and baseball teams with 1,250 children ages 5 to 15.

Since his 10-year-old son, Kalman, had played the season before, Carmel wanted to put up the $300 fee to sponsor a team himself.

But in an 8-1 vote, the volunteer committee said thanks, but no thanks.

"I voted against it," said Craig Gruber, secretary of the committee. "Personally ... given the nature of that business, I’m certain there’d be quite a bit of contention. 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."

Carmel said he learned of the decision via e-mail last Sunday, after weeks of exchanging letters that warned of the "potential controversy."

The committee, Gruber said, hasn’t taken up-or-down votes on sponsors, at least in his seven years’ experience. But this time, Constitution Arms caught its eye.

"My sense was the backlash would be extraordinary," he said.

To Carmel, the rejection flies in the face of the perception South Orange-Maplewood, which share a school system, is a proverbial big tent open to all ideas.

"Only if you agree with them," he said. "But if you don’t, the tent is not that big."

Tim Graham
Tim Graham
Tim Graham is Executive Editor of NewsBusters and is the Media Research Center’s Director of Media Analysis