The owners of a novelty glassware company have armed their staff with pistols and rifles as a “unique and memorable” Christmas present.
Bruce and Ben Wolfgram, the father-and-son co-owners of Benshot, a Hortonville, Wisconsin-based company that makes drinking glasses embedded with bullets, wanted to surprise their 16 full-time employees with an early Christmas gift ahead of their busy holiday season.
“Our main motivator was personal safety and protection, but we live in a local hunting community so we already know how people feel about weapons,” Ben, 35, tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “We also know our employees and their families well, so there’s lots of trust here.”
Last month, during a company meeting in the glass workshop area, the Wolfgrams announced the gift to their staff. “A few people told their spouses who couldn’t believe it,” says Ben.
Employees were instructed to gun-shop on their own time and last week, they were reportedly given a collective $8,000 in gift cards to gun stores. The only condition was that the staff had to undergo a gun-safety course at work.
“There were two women who weren’t sure they could use a gun so we gave them VISA gift cards instead,” says Ben.
Employee Chelsea Priest told USA Today that a gun “will empower her and will help keep her safe,” saying, “I’ve never been a part of anything like this.”
BenShot doesn’t have a policy barring guns at work, but Wisconsin is both an open-carry and concealed-carry state (the latter requires a permit), so legally, employees can arm themselves at work. However, Ben cites safety concerns working around glass heated to such high degrees.
The company has received mild backlash amid the mostly-positive public feedback. “But that’s OK,” says Ben. “That’s life.”