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Mayor Kapszukiewicz participates in Gun Safety Consortium to encourage safety device innovations

Its initial focus is on identifying, evaluating, and eventually purchasing locking devices that gun owners -- police as well as civilians -- are likely to use.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Like many cities across the country, Toledo has a gun violence problem. Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz is working with public officials in multiple states to find a solution.

The Gun Safety Consortium issued a Request for Proposals on April 27 seeking products that gun owners can use to secure their firearms. 

RELATED: 28 cities & counties to issue joint request for proposals for gun security products

The consortium is a group made up of mayors, county executives, police chiefs and sheriffs that intends to use its combined purchasing power to encourage innovation on gun safety among gun manufacturers, investors and startups. 

The consortium's initial focus is on identifying, evaluating, and eventually purchasing locking devices that gun owners -- police as well as civilians -- are likely to consistently use. Fewer than half of the nation’s gun owners regularly secure their firearms, according to research.  

The latest data shows 36% of all gun deaths in the U.S. in 2019 were due to homicide. In addition, over 60% of all the guns deaths in this country are due to suicide.

Public entities buy 40% of firearms in the country. The consortium's working with the startups to buy and test gun safety products so police and gun owners can keep their guns secured, but also readily accessible.

"We're looking for [the startups] to develop products that will secure guns better and prevent them from being stolen. And if we like the ideas that you produce, then we'll buy 20,000 of your widgets," said Kapszukiewicz.

The group has raised $115,000 for products that already exist for jurisdictions to test out including quick-release gun locking devices, user authenticating firearms and firearms equipped with technologies to assist law enforcement in tracing recovered firearms or shell casings, including: Bullet microstamping and enhanced traceability for firearms or firearms parts.

The mayor said Toledo was one of the early founders of this movement and the Toledo Police Department was very impressed with a gun lock tool they tested out in the past. 

"We're not going to save every life that's lost to gun violence in this country, but we'll save many. Just because we can't do everything, doesn't mean we should do nothing," Kapszukiewicz said.

The Consortium works in partnership with the Do Not Stand Idly By campaign (DNSIB), organized by the nonpartisan Industrial Areas Foundation citizens’ organizing network. DNSIB seeks pragmatic solutions to the nation’s gun violence epidemic. More than 300 DNSIB leaders have pledged their ongoing support for the Consortium’s work.

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