Wisconsin company that makes bullet-themed novelty glassware gifts guns to employees as early Christmas present
The move, although criticized across various social media platforms, seemed to sit well with the 16 full-time employees in the company
A Wisconsin company that manufactures bullet and gun-themed glassware, including 'bulletproof' whiskey glasses, beer mugs, and decanters which usually have a bullet embedded in the side, are drawing flak online after they decided to present their 16 full-time employees with controversial early Christmas gifts — guns.
According to the Daily Mail, each of the employees at the Hortonville-based Benshot was allowed to pick the weapon of their choice and then given gift cards so they could make their purchase at a retail store where the necessary background checks could be carried out. All but two of them accepted the gift, but co-owner Ben Wolfgram said that even those two are now reconsidering their choice after undergoing a mandated gun-safety course.
Wolfgram explained his motive behind the seemingly odd gifts, suggesting he hoped it would encourage the staff to go on team-building trips to the gun range. He also said he believes it's good for "everybody's safety to have a handgun in the home."
The company, which was started by a father-son duo in 2015 out of a small garage workshop in a village 100 miles north of Milwaukee, has glassware at prices ranging from $15 for a shot glass to $35 for a beer glass with their signature bullet embedded in the side, and Wolfgram says this is the first time they've done anything like this.
He insisted that he did not worry about workplace violence that may result from all the employees now owning guns. "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 also explained the reasoning behind how the company decided to go with guns for the Christmas gift. "There are two things, I got two motivators," he explained. "One, we thought it would be good for everybody's safety to have a handgun in the home. And then also, it's kind of fun. So we have company outings planned for going to the shooting range and this kind of thing."
Social media users criticized the move heavily. "#BENSHOT You have made your choice about guns. I will make mine and not buy your product," one wrote, while another posted, "One of the dumbest companies I’ve never heard of, BenShot, is buying all 16 employees a handgun of their choice for Christmas because the @NRA even plays Santa."
A third user commented, "Benshot in Wisconsin gives guns as Christmas gifts to all employees. A celebration of a loving savior abhorrent to violence & this company gives guns. Boycott BenShot. I for 1 will ask all I know to not buy anything from this company. I will repeat this call to boycott weekly!"
Despite the outrage online, the gift seemed to sit well with employees. Speaking to Freep, employee Chelsea Priest said, "I've never been a part of anything like this. Thank you so much for empowering us not to be victims, because you never know."
"Obviously, you see in the news all the time, you know stuff happens and it's a tragedy that things do happen. But for Ben to stand for something and for the company to stand for keeping us safe, it's really awesome for them to do that," she added.