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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

College Republicans host NRA speaker, students protest

Photo by Helen Dudley
Suzanne Anglewicz, an NRA midwest field coordinator, speaks at an NRA University program hosted by College Republicans.

The National Rifle Association presented its NRA University program at a Marquette College Republicans meeting April 24, where three students were asked to leave for allegedly being a disruption.

NRA University is a two-hour training seminar for college students who want to learn more about NRA, the Second Amendment, gun safety, legislative threats to gun rights and the gun control debate, according to its website

Sophomore Zoe Gunderson in the College of Arts & Sciences, freshman Perry Lodes in the College of Arts & Sciences and senior Kendall Kastner in the College of Arts & Sciences are in the same peace studies class and decided to protest the event. 

Gunderson came up with the idea the night before when a friend showed her the email about the NRA presenting at the meeting.

I heard about it, and I knew right away I wanted to protest it,” Gunderson said.

She said that though her fellow protesters were in her class, this was a protest independent of any Marquette-affiliated class or group.

Gunderson said they taped memes to their shirts and covered them up with jackets. She said they decided the memes would be “most relatable for (their) audience.”

“About 20 minutes into the meeting, we unzipped our jackets and just stood in the back silently and people noticed, but we were largely ignored until Zach came up to us and told us we had to leave,” Gunderson said.

Zachary Petrizzo, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, is the chair of the College Republicans. Petrizzo said the event was a closed-door event and only admitted club members.

After letting the protesters stand there for over 30 minutes in the room, I asked them to leave due to them whispering and disturbing the speaker’s presentation,” Petrizzo said in an email.

Petrizzo said he had a conversation with the protesters in the hallway in which he told them “they were more than welcome to protest the NRA.”

Gunderson said they went into the event speculating that they were going to get kicked out.  

We told him that was not our point — to have a private discussion with just one person. We were trying to make more of a broad statement with many people present,” Gunderson said.

Gunderson said she was frustrated about the way the protest was handled because she feels it is important to have an open dialogue. It’s kind of hypocritical that you are kicking out the very people you want an open dialogue with,” Gunderson said.

Petrizzo said the protest was still a disruption.

I asked for their contact information to follow up, for a conversation. They denied, which shows their (sic) not willing to have a serious conversation BUT RATHER be a DISRUPTION,” Petrizzo said in an email.

After the protesters were asked to leave, the event proceeded.

Suzanne Anglewicz, an NRA midwest field coordinator, said NRA University has been at Marquette for the past three years.

This is a great opportunity for the NRA to have one-on-one (discussion) with students, to be able to make ourselves available to them … just really having a good, open dialogue,” Anglewicz said.

Petrizzo said he believed the NRA presentation went “excellently.”

It’s important to have the NRA on Marquette’s campus, as they serve to protect not only the Second Amendment but in my perspective protect rights in which our Founding Fathers gave great time in ensuring are held steadfast and protected, such as the (First) Amendment, Freedom of Speech,” he said.

Petrizzo said another reason the NRA came to campus was for gun safety education.

“The NRA are a group of millions of Americans who are committed to defending and protecting the rights of the people listed clearly in the Bill of Rights,” Petrizzo said.

Petrizzo added that the College Republicans “stand firm in the belief that we will protect and defend the rights of every law abiding gun owner in our nation.”

Jackson Suarez, a sophomore in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been a member of College Republicans since last year. He said he believes the NRA did a good job in presenting the facts. Suarez said he feels the NRA is often misrepresented. 

“I hope there’s more support for the NRA and more awareness about what they actually stand for,” Suarez said.

As a strong promoter against gun violence, Gunderson said there are a lot of changes that need to be made. She said Milwaukee has some of the highest rates of gun violence in the nation and that there needs to be a lot of legislative change.

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  • R

    RichMay 2, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    The NRA has been selling out the American gun owner for over 100 years. They actively supported the NFA in 1934, the Gun Control Act in 1968 and the oppositely named Firearm Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (FOPA) which removed the right of Americans to purchase new automatic or AOW weapons, a clear violation of the Second Amendment.

    All of this was done with the cooperation of the sellout Progressive owned and run Republican Party as well.