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.
After a 2018 mass shooting in Pittsburgh, Toledo Mayor @wadekaps planned to hold gun dealers accountable by only purchasing police weapons from “responsible” dealers.
But 2 years later, buying habits haven’t changed.
So what was the point of his directive? Judge for yourself. pic.twitter.com/OLmKkyYBnR
— Tyler Paley 😷 (@TylerPaley) November 13, 2020
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.
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.