toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz
By WadeKapszukiewicz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,
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By Larry Keane

Toledo, Ohio Democratic Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s attempts to cancel licensed firearm retailers who don’t accept his purity tests is backfiring on him, his city’s law enforcement and his community.

Mayor Kapszukiewicz announced he was forcing his own version of gun control after 2018’s tragic murders at a synagogue in Pittsburgh. His action didn’t address criminal misuse of firearms. Instead, he sent a questionnaire to every firearm and ammunition dealer that supplied the Toledo police department, trying to influence and steer taxpayer-funded city contracts.

Mayor Kapszukiewicz’s questionnaire was to “weed out bad suppliers,” and make sure the city was only buying from “responsible companies.” To little surprise, the leading phrasing of the questionnaire wasn’t taken seriously.

Cancel Culture Questions

The retailer questionnaire used gun control’s loaded language, including the misnomer “assault weapons.” If the wrong answers were given, the result for retailers could be lost contracts.

  • Do you manufacture assault weapons for civilian use?
  • Do you sell assault weapons for civilian use?
  • Which firearms does your company agree not to sell to civilians?
  • Do you require your dealers to conduct background checks?
  • Does your company have a plan in place to invest in gun and ammunition tracing technology?
  • Do you use, at a minimum, industry best practices for inventory control and transactions?

So-called “assault weapons” are semiautomatic rifles that use technology that’s more than a century old. Today, modern sporting rifles (MSRs) are among the most popular-selling centerfire rifle. Nearly 20 million MSRs are in circulation today.

Doug Vance, Vice President of Vance Outdoors scoffed at the loaded questions. “‘Assault weapons’ is not a specific term, but yes, the company sells to civilians,” he explained. “Obviously, most anyone that they’re (Toledo city government) going to deal with that sells firearms is either somebody who manufactures or sells, in some capacity, to someone that would have civilian status.”

The questionnaire showed the mayor’s willful ignorance of facts to achieve an agenda. All federal firearm dealers are required to perform and receive approval from the FBI after a background check for every firearm transfer. Firearms sold by FFLs already include serial numbers for tracking and ammunition tracing technology has proven to be unworkable.

Right Answers Only

The mayor already had the “right” answers in mind, threatening to cancel law enforcement contracts and placing citizens in further danger from violence. Retailers didn’t cave though, recognizing their critical importance to legally provide firearms to citizens lawfully exercising their rights. They knew they had the high ground. The mayor knew it too.

“We do have to purchase the weapons for our police department from companies that we don’t believe are responsible. We have no other choice,” Mayor Kapszukiewicz said. “While I might not say I’m not going to buy from you anymore, but I’m also not going to encourage anybody to buy from you anymore.’”

Cancel Culture Rejected

This election demonstrated America’s limits for government intrusion on gun rights. Billionaire and failed presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg, through his antigun groups Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action, spent nearly $1.5 billion dollars to buy election results for the White House, Congress and state legislatures. Tech companies and banking institutions have actively engaged in discriminatory practices aiming to shutter lawful firearm businesses.

Americans resoundingly rejected these candidates and their ideas. Even gun control groups removed mentions of gun control from their ads.

This year witnessed record-high firearm purchases, with 17.2  million background checks for a gun sale, including historic diversity among gun owners, with more women, African-American, Asian-American and Hispanic buyers than ever before.

As for the impacts of Mayor Kapszukiewicz’s anti-gun questionnaire shenanigans, the local Toledo news summed up the effect. “It’s difficult to measure the success of this directive because Toledo’s buying habits haven’t changed.” Politicizing the purchasing of law enforcement equipment has been tried before and it has always failed.


Larry Keane is SVP for Government and Public Affairs, Assistant Secretary and General Counsel of the National Shooting Sports Foundation.

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  1. Epic fail?

    Depends on the intent, which we truly do not know.

    If, guessing here, the intent was cred with the mayor’s base, he got it. If intent was to continue to denegrate lawful gunoners, he succeeded. If the intent was to keep stirring the emotional pot of the dullards, he succeeded. If the mayor intended to virtue signal, he succeded; most importantly, it cost him nothing.

    There is an ancient Japanese proverb (one I learned from a WW2 movie), “We take the obvious, and reverse it.”.

    • I moved out of Toledo over forty years ago. I was born and raised in Toledo. I still have family there. The Democrats have pretty much ran the place the past fifty years and it looks like it. I was there a few months ago. The place, especially the downtown has had a ton of money pumped into it and they haven’t got a lot for it. The city is for the most part, a dump. The outlying areas are doing good. But like a previous writer noted, they are managed by Republicans.

    • “Police officers are civilians.”

      In current context, “civilians” are also the term used to describe anyone not part of the unit; much the way we are told the Mafia look at anyone not part of the mob, or police.

    • 100% civilians.

      If you are not under the Uniform Code of Military Justice you are a civilian!

      This one chaps my ass.

      I called out a cocky part-time sheriff deputy who said he had an AR-15 but probably not most civilians shouldn’t, MF.
      I pointed out the UMCJ deal and moved on to another table, not worth the discussion.
      I’m a naturalized citizen as of ’09 after moving here at age 40 in ’99.
      I my constitutional rights and responsibilities seriously.
      I enjoy pointing out the third line of my sworn oath of citizenship says “I swear to take up arms in defense of my country ” and I intend to be competent.

      • The term “civilians” when used by government agencies can largely be interpreted as “not like us”, as in “not our team, as in “not our tribe”. A DEA agent explained to me, “All cops are at war with bad guys. Warring between cops and bad guys is legit, but not against “civilians” (anybody not a cop or bad guy).”

        In short, “civilian” is someone not affiliated with a particular group, as opposed to the distinction between uniformed military, and the rest of the population. No amount of language control will put the Jinn back in the bottle.

  2. This mayors festering ignorance emanates as contempt for his constituents. That contempt was expressed as bullying, bias, against lawful businesses that provide jobs, essential services, and tax revenue.

    When I am finally inaugurated, I will push for legislation that makes it possible to sue government officials and bureaucrats for real and punitive damages when they misuse their office to bully their constituents and/or undermine the US Constitution.

    • “…I will push for legislation that makes it possible to sue government officials and bureaucrats for real…”

      Ok. I applaud your instincts and dreams. However….

      Since the Presidency is becoming more efficient through Executive Orders/Acts, legislation is just so 1970s. You should instead order all agencies with police powers to arrest any government official with whom you disagree, on any matter. Subsequent to arrest, the detainees will be subjected to punishment for the duration of your term in office. Specifically, the detainees will be quarantined in a FEMA black site in far northern North Dakota, forced to watch re-runs of Happy Days, 24/7. Especially recalcitrant detainees will be segregated, and forced to watch Laverne and Shirley, instead. Detainees will be released only upon a sworn declaration that they will never again be engaged in politics, or occupy a position in government of any level. Or released upon the advent of a new President.

      Deterrence works only if the punishment is certain, swift and harsh.

      • Sam I Am,

        Would you be willing to join my Cabinet to head the Justice Department? Clean it out, restaff it with Patriots. Justice needs strong, decisive, and ethical, and firmly Patriotic leadership. The job comes with a nice office. We can provide an armored vehicle, also.

        • “Would you be willing to join my Cabinet to head the Justice Department?”

          So long as I remain anonymous, and you keep my name out of it.

      • See people, THIS is how you write satire. Sam has simultaneously spoofed and mocked his opponent’s position, without stawmanning him, or coming across as a serious position.

        But on a personal note, I do wish we had some kind of penalty for people who actively work to undermine our civil rights. Seriously, the Bill of Rights is fairly clear, but there’s no criminal penalty whatsoever for those who spend their entire careers trying to dismantle it.

      • I assume they would be forced to watch the seasons AFTER Fonz jumped the shark.

        I would also he in favor of making the Brady Campaign members watch the Cousin Oliver episodes of the Brady Bunch 24/7. It would be poetic justice.

        • Sam,
          Personally, I think those in solitary should be shown only Alka Seltzer commercials with Speedy in them.

          • “Personally, I think those in solitary should be shown only Alka Seltzer commercials with Speedy in them.”

            Pretty sure that would violate the 8th.

    • How about all the gun stores and manufacturers refuse to sell guns or ammo to any democrat ( socialist ) run city.

      • Barrett has that partially-covered.

        I believe they refuse to sell to any government agency that doesn’t allow their citizens to own their weapons. Like California, for example…

    • The problem is, they don’t care. Their goal hasn’t changed, getting a bunch of brain dead idiots to vote for them, and do their bidding has and continues to work, so why change tactics?

      There have been decades the anti-freedom folks could have been educated, or educated themselves. If they weren’t pushing an agenda.

      I’m watching first hand as Californians have moved into my state, fallen in love with the freedom to own firearms, then approve of, and vote for, a governor who not for COVID, was on track to ram through a 10rd magazine ban. Along with all the previous bills he signed legislatively curtailing freedom.

      • Too many people have the “I don’t know and I don’t care to know” attitude. This is what kept the 12:00 flashing on VCR’s years ago. It’s also what makes slaves of those that use Facebook, Twitter, and Google. It’s makes it easy to lie to people and manipulate them.

    • the answer to the first two questions should be no…[since real “assault weapons” are regulated by the federal government]….and he also seems to display gross ignorance in not knowing ALL ffl’s are legally required to perform a background check…classic example of someone in authority not knowing what they are talking about…Toledo is about 250 mi from Pittsburgh…but politically they have become quite similar…

      • No, Frank, “assault weapons” aren’t regulated by the federal government any more (not since the assault weapon ban sunsetted). Biden has promised to do so, but at present, they just aren’t.
        You might be thinking of assault rifles; they ARE regulated by the feds.
        That he asked their selling habits about “assault weapons” shows without a doubt that he is ignorant about what he wants to control.

  3. Did I miss something??? If I was any Toledo ”gun retailer” I’d give da mayor the proverbial middle finger. There’s gotta be joke somewhere with a surname like that?!!😏 As in Commiefornia doing business with the enemy should net you a going out of business sale…

  4. “Politicizing the purchasing of law enforcement equipment has been tried before and it has always failed…”

    Now, now… let’s not be to broad here.

    Sure are a lot of ford and chevy police vehicles around.

        • Factory racers for Ford AND Chevy kicking HEMI’s ass every weekend at drag strips all over the country…. Back in the day HEMI meant something special, now it’s just a marketing gag…… Any LS or Ford OHC engine can and do produce as much HP and torque as any Gen 3 HEMI… My 2003 Terminator Cobra makes over 650 RWHP and I’ve never even cracked the heads open…..

        • I don’t believe Dodge has made a true ‘Hemi’ cylinder head in many years.

          I Think I recall someone saying they are more of a pent-roof cylinder head these days, for reasons of valve placement geometry and overall optimizing head ‘breathing’…

  5. Any non-NFA dealer could claim that no, they don’t sell assault weapons. If called on it, they can simply point to the US Army definition. Based on a reliable authority a MSR is not an assault weapon.

    • Whether a MSR is an “assault weapon” depends entirely on whether your locality has a definition of an “assault weapon” or not. If it does, then a garden variety MSR probably fits that definition, and is, therefore, an “assault weapon,” at least there.
      And there’s the problem: there is no overall, definitive definition of “assault weapon.”
      So, whether or not a dealer sells “assault weapons” depends on where that dealer has his business, as much as what he sells there.
      To the best of my knowledge, Toledo doesn’t have a definition of “assault weapon,” but Ohio does (it can be found here:

      • ANY weapon you use to ASSAULT another person with is an ASSAULT WEAPON… My semi automatic rifles with AND without pistol grips, removeable magazines, and forward handgrips are NOT military grade assault weapons, however the aluminum baseball bat my wife keeps next to her on her side of the bed is intended to be just that… Now IF someday I were to decide to build an off the books AR style rifle with say a three round burst selector then THAT could possibly fall under the designation of a military style assault rifle… Not that I would ever partake in such illegal activity but an 80% lower and an available three round burst (for M-16 repair/refurbishing only) conversion kit probably does make it tempting to some criminal elements….

  6. Why not just boycott sales to Toledo PD and Sheriffs? Let’s see how the mayor likes cancel culture when the police lose their firearms due to his stupidity.

  7. My answer to the questionnaire would be short: We comply with all applicable laws, including unconstitutional ones, like the NFA and GCA.

  8. I hate when the government uses the term civilian to mean someone other than law enforcement. LEOs are civilians. They are not in the military. They are subject to the same laws as everyone else.

    As though being a LEO means that they will not use a firearm to murder or to commit suicide.

  9. “You ask how I know of Toledo Ohio, well I spent a week there one day…”
    “They have entertainment to dazzle your eyes, you can sit in the part and watch the grass die…”

    RIP John Denver

  10. I remember passing through Toledo on the interstate many years ago on a trip to Michigan. The sky was brown. The city was brown. The river was brown.

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