Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Dealer makes political statement

An online gun sale
from a Wisconsin dealer set off a nationwide debate about concealed weapons on
college campuses Wednesday.

Green Bay-based dealer
Eric Thompson sold one of the guns used in last year’s Virginia Tech shootings
and clips used at the similar events at Northern Illinois University. Wednesday
he kicked off a plan to sell guns on one of his more than 100 websites at cost
— taking no profits on the sales.

“I hope and pray
I will never again be in a position where I am asked questions about selling
items used in a crime,” Thompson said in a statement. “The next news
story I want to be involved in is how I sold a firearm to someone who helped
stop a mass murderer. By forgoing a profit, I hope to help give law-abiding
citizens the tools to prevent tragedy.”


Since the shootings,
student groups have sprung up at campuses across the nation, including the
University of Wisconsin, hoping to secure the ability to carry concealed
weapons on campuses, which are usually gun-free zones.

UW medical student
Bret Bostwick, the Wisconsin campus leader for Students for Concealed Carry on
Campus, said he appreciates Thompson’s efforts to open a dialogue on the
concealed carry issue.

“Virginia Tech
and NIU taught us that gun-free zone signs on our campuses don’t stop
massacres,” Bostwick said. “These signs take guns [away from]
law-abiding citizens but do nothing to take the guns out of the hands of

Thompson is scheduled
to speak at a Students for Concealed Carry on Campus event at Virginia Tech

Jerri Bonavia,
executive director of the Wisconsin Anti-Violence Effort, said concealed carry
is the wrong tactic to improve campus safety.

“More guns will
not improve personal or public safety; in fact, it has just the opposite
effect,” Bonavia said.

She said because
campuses are settings with excessive alcohol consumption and a great deal of
stress, adding guns is “just a horrendous idea.”

Two motivations
support the push for concealed carry on campuses, according to Bostwick:
deterrence and self-defense.

“Criminals know
that a gun-free zone is a place where their victims will be defenseless. So if
they’re looking to rack up a big body bag count, campuses are the ideal
spot,” Bostwick said. “If some individuals are armed on campus, the
criminal no longer has that guarantee.”

He added in the event
of an attack, arming licensed and qualified students with concealed weapons
would “even the odds” for innocent students.

Wisconsin and Illinois
are the only states that completely ban concealed carry. There have been
pushes, like a bill in the state Assembly last session, to change that policy.

“I think
concealed carry is a right of self-defense that needs to be restored in
Wisconsin,” said Rep. Scott Suder, R-Abbotsford. “I am open to
restoring it to those who happen to be at our higher learning institutions as
well as long as they pass a background check and as long as they can pass all
the rigorous qualifications for getting a concealed carry permit.”

But Suder agrees with
Sen. Fred Risser, D-Madison, saying the policy is unlikely to change unless the
Legislature is thoroughly shaken up in the next election.

“I’m opposed to
it because more guns will create more problems, not less. I think the
educational institutions ought to be places where guns are not permitted,”
Risser said.

“I don’t think
concealed carry on campus has a chance in this state in the near future.”

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