City of Toledo questions gun manufacturers; says "unsuccessful" answers will result in no contracts
Earlier this month, the City of Toledo announced a new policy that says it will only purchase firearms from "responsible" gun companies. In order to determine which companies are "responsible," city officials say they will ask six questions of manufacturers:
Those questions are:
- Do you manufacture assault weapons for civilian use?
- Do you sell assault weapons for civilian use?
- Which firearms does your company agree to not 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 technologies?
- Do you use, at a minimum, industry best practices for inventory control and transactions?
Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz says he hopes other cities will follow his lead, given that the city's $150,000 annual budget for firearms, ammunition and parts is not likely to put a major dent in manufacturers' bottom lines all by itself.
To my knowledge there has been no public response from a manufacturer to the policy, but I have a few suggestions.
First, it is interesting to note that the city did not say what answers would be considered to be "successful," or how many answers a company has to get "correct." But one can hazard a guess as to what they want to hear. And thanks to the poor wording of their questions, it is likely most manufacturers can tell them exactly what they want to hear, even if they sell the wildly-popular modern sporting rifles.
"Do you manufacture assault weapons for civilian use?" If you're a manufacturer of AR-15s, for example, you can honestly answer "no." Semi-automatic firearms are NOT "assault weapons."
"Do you sell assault weapons for civilian use?" Again, if you sell AR-15s to law-abiding citizens, for example, you can honestly answer "no." Semi-automatic firearms are NOT "assault weapons."
"Which firearms does your company agree to not sell to civilians?" A fitting and truthful answer to this question could simply be, "Those prohibited by state and or Federal law."
"Do you require your dealers to conduct background checks?" Once again, a truthful answer is simply, "We follow all Federal and state laws."
"Does your company have a plan in place to invest in gun and ammunition-tracing technologies?" This is, presumably, a question referring to unproven micro-stamping, or so-called "ballistic fingerprinting" - a technique that has repeatedly failed in test, and that could be easily defeated by a criminal. Once again, a truthful answer is simply, "We follow all Federal and state laws."
"Do you use, at a minimum, industry best practices for inventory control and transactions?" The answer? You guessed it. "We follow all Federal and state laws."
So many manufacturers could probably answer the questions and still win contracts. But I'd like to suggest another idea:
Manufacturers should refuse to sell firearms to the City of Toledo.
In 2013, in response to various and increasingly oppressive (and sometimes impossible to comply with) anti-Second Amendment state laws, more than forty firearms manufacturers announced that they would no longer do business with law enforcement agencies in these states. Likewise, many companies announced they would no longer do business with Dick's Sporting Goods after that company's efforts at gun control virtue signaling.
Gun manufacturers should unite and do the same to the City of Toledo, and any other city that attempts to copy this effort. Don't sell them guns. Don't sell them ammo. Don't sell them parts. Let's see who needs who more.
And maybe you'll want to contact the Mayor and City Council members to express your displeasure.
Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz - [email protected] - 419-245-1001
City Council - If you live in Toledo, click here to look up your council member by district.
Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is co-founder of BFA-PAC, and served as its Vice Chairman for 15 years. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.