For Young Americans for Liberty at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, one issue that we have been hesitant to tackle is gun rights. This all changed due to the heated topic of concealed carry on campus. In our state of Wisconsin, there is a bill that may allow concealed carry on all public universities. With this, as well as SFL’s Not Just a Gun activism campaign, we decided it was time for us to spread the message about the importance of gun rights.
Our approach to spreading the ideas of gun rights was quite simple. We reserved a booth on campus and handed out fact sheets about the importance of gun rights, particularly for groups that often are victimized and oppressed like minorities, women, and LGBTQ individuals. We also decided to make a large poster in the shape of a gun that said “Protect yourself, it’s your right.” This event definitely caught people’s attention and helped get people talking on campus.
Though many people showed support regarding both the right to concealed carry and gun rights in general, there were many who were not pleased by our presence. Many passersby gave nasty looks, primarily professors and workers at the university rather than fellow students. We even got the rare rude comment.
The most surprising backlash we received though was from an anonymous professor on campus. While our table was vacant, with only our fact sheets and posters out, a professor covered our table with literature they’d written. The papers were their personal blog, which discussed how they were afraid of guns and that if guns were allowed on campus they would quit their job. Despite some of the immature behavior we experienced, overall the mass majority of students stood on the side of liberty and supported the right to bear arms.
This event for our chapter may have been our most controversial, though we are glad we did it. It brought up an important issue and got people talking about something that may have not been talked about previously. It also confirmed that we as libertarians are not alone on these issues. When it comes to gun rights in Wisconsin, it seems like support will continue with our generation.