SOUND-OFF: U.S. mayors, law enforcement converge on Toledo for reducing gun violence conference

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SOUND-OFF: U.S. mayors, law enforcement converge on Toledo for reducing gun violence conference

TOLEDO (WTOL) - Toledo will be the scene of a major discussion on gun violence in cities starting tomorrow.

More than 50 U.S. mayors, law enforcement leaders and policy officials will meet Tuesday and Wednesday at the Renaissance Toledo Downtown Hotel to share strategies on reducing gun violence. The U.S. Conference of Mayors is organizing the two-day event.

“Gun violence is a serious problem that will never be solved if we are afraid to talk about it,” Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said. “Congress is afraid to talk about this, and since they are unwilling to fix the problem, mayors from across the country will work together to identify common sense policies that will make our cities safer.”

There will be a full day of sessions on Wednesday.

Topics for the conference include gun-purchasing restrictions, encouraging gun-owner responsibility, and using technology as a tool for gun violence reduction and prevention.

The sessions are not open to the media or the public.

In October, In the wake of several mass shootings across the nation, Kapszukiewicz unveiled a plan to use the free market to push for change from gun companies.

Starting this year, the mayor said Toledo’s safety forces will only buy weapons and ammunition from “responsible” companies that meet certain criteria put in place by the mayor.

“Unfortunately, Congress just doesn’t seem interested in bringing about change, so we’ll have to do it ourselves at the local level and apply pressure in the good ol' fashioned, capitalistic free market by trying to withhold our purchases from companies that we think are irresponsible,” Kapszukiewicz said last year.

Using his contract signing powers as mayor, Kapszukiewicz issued an executive directive requiring all of the city’s weapons and ammunition suppliers to answer six questions before the city signs a contract with them.

The mayors attending the sessions in Toledo include:

  • Steve Benjamin, Mayor of Columbia, SC and President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors
  • David Berger, Mayor of Lima, Ohio
  • Gavin Buckley, Mayor of Annapolis, MD
  • John Cranley, Mayor of Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Carlo DeMaria, Mayor of Everett, MA
  • Mike Duggan, Mayor of Detroit, MI
  • Andrew Ginther, Mayor of Columbus, Ohio
  • Dan Horrigan, Mayor of Akron, Ohio
  • Wade Kapszukiewicz, Mayor of Toledo, Ohio
  • Andy Linko, Mayor of Brownstown Township, MI
  • Anan Abu-Taleb, Mayor of Oak Park, IL
  • William Peduto, Mayor of Pittsburgh, PA
  • Chase Ritenauer, Mayor of Lorain, Ohio
  • Nan Whaley, Mayor of Dayton, Ohio

The police executives attending include:

  • Kenneth Ball, Chief of Police, Akron, Ohio
  • Philip Carey, Police Sergeant, Pittsburgh, PA
  • James Craig, Chief of Police, Detroit, MI
  • William Holbrook, Chief of Police, Columbia, SC
  • Eliot Isacc, Chief of Police, Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Melron Kelly, Deputy Chief of Police, Columbia, SC
  • George Kral, Chief of Police, Toledo, Ohio
  • Kevin Martin, Chief of Police, Lima, Ohio
  • Thomas Quinlin, Acting Chief of Police, Columbus, Ohio
  • Ladon Reynolds, Chief of Police, Oak Park, IL
  • Cel Rivera, Chief of Police, Lorain, Ohio
  • Scott Ruszkowski, Chief of Police, South Bend, IN
  • George Turner, Public Safety Commissioner, Atlanta, GA
  • Robin Lees, Chief of Police, Youngstown, Ohio
  • Michael Johnson, Captain, Rochester Hills, MI

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