A commercial from ADCO Firearms in Sylvania, Ohio, (a Toledo suburb) criticized the city’s policy to only buy from “responsible” firearms manufacturers.
ADCO Firearms’ 30-second commercial from November 2019 was initially set in October 2018 and features a man asking a woman what she’s watching on her tablet. She replies, “The mayor just gave a speech about the new requirements for who the city has to buy their guns from. The vendors have to answer questions about making and selling assault weapons for civilians.”
“He’s so woke,” replies the man, referring to Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz.
The scene then jumps forward one year and the same man and woman are sitting outside. Once again reading her tablet, she informs the man that the Toledo Police Department chose to arm its academy with SIG Sauer pistols.
The man replies that SIG Sauer sells popular semi-auto rifles to anybody, which he calls “assault weapons,” while making air quotes. She replies, “It’s epic hypocrisy.” The man then asks where “anybody” can get the same firearms as the Toledo Police Department. She says that he can at ADCO Firearms and both are suddenly wearing ADCO Firearms apparel.
“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,” said Kapszukiewicz, at an October 2018 press conference.
The man in the commercial is ADCO Firearms owner Steve Thompson, who reportedly spent $1,000 on the ad’s four-month slot on Channel 24. He told local media that when the city implemented its new policy, there were no manufacturers that make the types of firearms the police department’s needs, and that they do not sell or build so-called “assault weapons.”
“While the ad is based on inaccurate facts and assumptions, the Mayor isn’t interested in getting into a war of words,” Toledo city spokesman Ignazio Messina told local media in response. “It’s doubtful the company is really interested in the facts anyway, and so attempting to explain them would be pointless. Our best guess is that this is some sort of bizarre political statement.”
Thompson responded with the release of a second commercial on Facebook. In it he references an article from the local media, as well as Messina’s response within it, before handing a tablet to a woman seated at a table with him. She says, “The cadets were issued SIG handguns even though SIG makes and sells ‘assault weapons’ to civilians. The quote from TPD literally says right here, ‘the issued duty pistol is the SIG Sauer P226 and has been for decades.’ They obviously didn’t do anything different this time.”
“It’s obviously not my facts that are inaccurate,” says Thompson.
In a November 2019 essay published in the Toledo Blade, Thompson said that Kapszukiewicz’s “‘assault weapons’ policy [is] shooting blanks.”
“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,’” added Thompson.
Thompson said that he hopes his ad “encourages people to ask for clarification about what Toledo’s gun-purchasing policy is truly intended to do.”
Since Toledo implemented the new policy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution endorsing it. The city reportedly spends up to $150,000 annually on firearms, parts and ammunition for its officers.