Saturday Essay: Toledo mayor's "assault weapons" policy shooting blanks

There will never be any progress regarding firearms regulation as long as politicians are given full media attention to throw out phrases like “assault weapons” and “killing machines.”

By Steve Thompson
Sat, 30 Nov 2019 05:00:00 GMT

Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz’s executive directive on weapons and ammunition purchasing was a policy based in ignorance and doomed to fail from the beginning. I can only hope those who supported this executive gun control demand an explanation from city leaders.

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. A little research shows the company the city is financially supporting made the “assault weapon” used by the killer in the Pulse Night Club mass shooting in Orlando in 2016.

The mayor had two opportunities to stop the purchase of Sig Sauer pistols for the academy class in terms of the manufacturer and vendor from which the guns were purchased.

Instead, he seemingly did nothing as the TPD purchased the same guns as they have for decades.

Mr. Kapszukiewicz said of his purchasing policy, “This is a power I have as the mayor, and I am going to wield it and execute it myself. I have the ability as the chief executive of the city to enter into contracts however I see fit.”

How much power does the mayor have in dictating what weapons the city purchases for its police?

For a 40-person academy class the city would need to spend close to $40,000 on guns and gear. For any contract over $10,000 the administration must get Toledo City Council to vote to approve the expense.

If the mayor refused to purchase more Sigs and switched to a different company or manufacturer they would still have to meet all the other statutory purchasing criteria, which includes “best and lowest” bidder rules.

Those rules aren’t discretionary, and municipal purchasing is a complex process. Consider new guns, gear, and training for a department of 700 officers. We’re talking close to a half-million dollars to fully implement this policy, and that’s if there were any manufacturers or ​vendors that meet the rules of the directive as the mayor laid out in the press conference.

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.

Going it alone gets no one anywhere.

Mr. Thompson. of Monclova Township, is owner of ADCO Firearms, Sylvania.

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