The co-owner of a Wisconsin company that gave handguns to each of its employees as an early Christmas gift says the gesture was meant to provide safety and excitement to their staffers.
Ben Wolfgram — whose business, BenShot, sells beer mugs, wine glasses and shot glasses with bullets planted into their sides — says he had no concerns about providing employees with the firearms.
“We wanted to give something nice and memorable to our employees,” Wolfgram told the Daily News. “There were two aspects for us. One was for employee safety, and the other was we wanted something that’s kind of fun and exciting.”
BenShot, which Wolfgram operates with his father Bruce, has 16 full-time employees.
Wolfgram says his company held a handgun safety training course at work for those who accepted the gift. He said it wasn’t required for employees to get a concealed carry permit, but they had the option to schedule a class to obtain one with the woman who instructed the gun safety course.
“Before they got a gun, they had to go through the training,” Wolfgram said.
Two employees chose not to accept the gun so Wolfgram gave them gift cards instead.
The issue of gun safety has been at the forefront of public discussion due to the wave of mass shootings in America.
Last month, 11 people were killed at a Pittsburgh synagogue when an anti-Semitic gunman opened fire.
Then last week, 12 people were killed at a Thousand Oaks, Calif., bar when a gunman started firing inside. The shooter was identified by officials as Ian David Long, a 28-year-old former Marine who police say might have been suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.
Long posted to Instagram moments before he opened fire that he had “no reason” to carry out the attack, according to ABC News. He reportedly wrote, “life is boring so why not?”
Wolfgram says he didn’t have concerns about giving his employees guns because he trusts each of them. He noted that they’ll be going to a shooting range as a team-building activity.
“We’re a small business. I know everybody,” he said. “All the employees, I know their families. I know their spouses’ names, their kids’ names. So we know who we’re working with and we trust them.”
He added that he wasn’t worried about any potential critics of his decision to gift the weapons to his staff.
“I’m not too concerned with their opinions, I guess,” he said. “We just had a Christmas gift for our company, and we have a part that’s gu-focused. That’s what our company is. (It’s) all pro-gun, so we’re not really worried about that.”
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