Toledo, Ohio’s mayor grabbed headlines last year when he announced that the city would only purchase firearms from “responsible” companies that didn’t sell semi-automatic rifles to civilians, but one local gun store owner is blasting the mayor for empty promises and rank hypocrisy.
Steve Thompson is the owner of ADCO Firearms in Sylvania, Ohio and a longtime thorn in the side of Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz. Thompson has repeatedly taken to the mayor to task for a policy that requires gun companies that want to do business with the city to answer questions about whether or not they make semi-automatic firearms. When Mayor Kapszukiewicz announced the policy, he made it clear that the city would be using the answers from the survey to decide where it would spend its money.
The city of Toledo will only purchase guns and ammunition from responsible manufacturers, Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said during a news conference today.
“Congress won’t take action to stop mass shootings in the United States, so it is up to cities like Toledo to put pressure on gun companies to make that happen. It has become obvious that Congress will not fix this problem,” the mayor said. “We have a Congress that just doesn’t care. They are quick to tweet out thoughts and prayers but they care more about protecting the gun industry and their donations from the National Rifle Association than children hiding for their lives under desks at Sandy Hook Elementary School before being killed.”
Mayor Kapszukiewicz announced the executive directive on weapons and ammunition purchasing in the wake of yet another mass shooting, this time in Pittsburgh where 11 people were gunned down in a Synagogue.
Every year, the city of Toledo spends about $150,000 on ammunition, firearms, and firearms replacement parts.
“When we find vendors from whom to buy guns and ammunition, we are going to take steps to make sure the companies are responsible, and that the companies do not look the other way when an AR-15 gets in the hands of a mentally ill 15-year-old,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said.
Since the announcement more than a year ago, Steve Thompson has repeatedly criticized the mayor for the move, and even bought airtime on a local TV station to mock the mayor’s “wokeness.” Now the gun store owner has taken to the pages of the Toledo Blade to accuse the mayor of hypocrisy and ignoring his own policy.
When the policy was announced, Police Chief George Kral was asked if any purchases were coming up. He answered, “We are getting ready to have a class of 40 that’s going to start in May, so we’ll be ramping up the process pretty quickly.”
To his credit, the policy was implemented, the questionnaire was submitted, and answers received in time to arm the academy class.
Unfortunately, that is where any implementation of the policy ended. Apparently, there are no disqualifying answers to the questions, because the vendor answered that they sell all firearms, of all types, to civilians per all federal and state laws.
Any law-abiding citizen reading this can walk into a retail gun store in Ohio and buy the same weapons as purchased for the TPD…
Not only did the city buy from a company that manufacturers AR15s, what the mayor calls “assault weapons,” for civilians, they bought them from a dealer that sells AR15s and actual machine guns to civilians.
Sounds like Toledo’s mayor was really interested in public relations, not public safety, when he announced his big change to the city’s future firearms acquisitions. Kapszukiewicz got his press conference and his headlines, but that’s about it. As Thompson writes, soundbite solutions like the one offered by the mayor may generate a few positive headlines for politicians, but they don’t do anything to make anyone safer.
There will never be any progress or change regarding firearms regulation as long as ignorant, virtue-signaling politicians are given full media attention to throw out phrases like “assault weapons” and “killing machines.”
Until they are willing to invite people who own one of the 20 million semiautomatic rifles with pistol grips and detachable magazines that are commonly used for competition, hunting, and self-defense into the conversation they aren’t interested in solving anything.
The really sad thing is that there are several productive things that Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz could be doing instead of just holding a news conference and preening for the press. Like every other city in the United States, Toledo’s violent crime is driven by its gangs, but in order to reduce gang violence, city leaders are going to have to deal with the individual gang members, not bloviate about gun manufacturers.
Some of these gang members can be reached, and given the chance and opportunity they can turn their lives around. Others are lost, and need to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. If Kapszukiewicz really wants to get serious about public safety, he should reach out to the U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Ohio to see what the city can do to fully implement the Department of Justice’s new Project Guardian program in the city. Given the mayor’s political leanings, however, it’s far more likely he’ll keep offering up a heaping helping of hypocrisy along with his calls for “commonsense gun safety laws.”