Anti-diversity advocate addresses gun rights on campus
Published: Wednesday, February 6, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 6, 2013 01:02
In celebration of “Second Amendment Day,” an anti-diversity advocate sought to communicate a pro-gun rights message to students near Rudder Plaza.
Preston Wiginton set up a booth with a “Come and take it” banner Tuesday morning to present his stance on gun control and provide a petition for students to sign. Wiginton set up a peaceful protest at last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast, which warranted standby University police officers in prevention of potential violent reaction.
Most students who passed the demonstration said Wiginton’s view were extreme and incendiary.
“I am here to send a message,” Wiginton said. “If the government were to [try] to take our guns away, they need to know that our society is a free society.”
Engaging students in conversation, Wiginton discussed what he sees as a hostile takeover of American rights.
“There are two rights that make the United States unique: the First and Second amendments: freedom of speech and the right to bear arms,” Wiginton said. “Right now, the political atmosphere is only about regulating guns, or taking them away. I want to [initiate] conversation on what creates the violence itself.”
Wiginton has visited campus several times and is often remembered for the controversial stances he takes on issues such as civil rights. He voiced the opinion that civil rights “[are] not good for America,” protesting last year’s Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Citing a study conducted by Tatu Vanhanen, a professor of political science at the University of Helsinki, Finland, Wiginton said a democracy with more diversity inevitably experiences more conflict, while a democracy with less diversity tends to have less of it.
“Communist Russia failed because they couldn’t fund their massive police state,” Wiginton said. “They had a massive amount of conflict because they couldn’t control all of their ethnic groups and now the U.S. government is trying to do the same thing; take our guns and create a police state.”
Wiginton’s most recent campus visit and cause generated mixed student reactions.
“I am in support of the Second Amendment, and I think people need to see what happens when the government takes over and takes [citizens’] weapons,” said Billy Yoder, junior political science major, referring to the pictures and statistics of violence in places such as Communist Russia and South Africa that were on display.
Junior history major Marshall Rankin said Wiginton is purposefully incendiary.
“[His stance] is meant to be as offensive as possible, and he generally goes too far. But I am also pro-second amendment,” Rankin said. “Why should we give the federal government the right to restrict gun rights when they’ve shown they cannot take care of finances, or military spending?”
Wiginton said the on-campus dialogue on gun rights is what he wants students to take away from his protest more than anything.
“I appreciate it when students stop by [to talk],” Wiginton said. “I want to promote different viewpoints not often discussed.”