US: New York retailers agree to remove realistic toy guns from shelves

Over 6,400 toy guns violating New York laws were sold from 2012 to 2014.
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Walmart, Sears and Amazon are among several New York-based retailers that have agreed to keep realistic toy guns off their shelves.

The NY Times reports that the deal forms part of a settlement with the New York attorney general’s office, which found that over 6,400 toy guns sold from 2012 to 2014 were violating New York laws.

The settlements also carry collective civil penalties of more than $300,000.

The actions are aiming to cut down on crimes that involve toy guns and help prevent split-second mistakes by the police that can end in death.

According to the attorney general’s office, since 1994 there have been at least 63 shootings in New York State because of toy or imitation guns, with at least eight of them ending in fatalities.

“There have been instances in states around the country in which police officers have mistaken toy guns for actual guns,” Eric T. Schneiderman, the attorney general, told The NY Times.

“It’s an absolutely unnecessary risk, because toy guns, as New York law requires, can be easily distinguishable.”

There have been calls to restrict toy guns over the past year, due in part to the death of Tamir Rice, a 12 year old boy who was playing with a toy gun when he was shot by a police officer last November.

Earlier this year, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Nebraska, New York, Ohio and Washington introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Federal law requires toy guns to have an orange strip near the tip, New York State law prohibits the sale of black, blue, silver or aluminum toy guns while New York City laws state that imitation guns must be brightly coloured, or translucent.

Most of the illegal toy gun sales came through third-party sellers on Amazon but Walmart will pay the most in penalties as it violated terms of a 2003 agreement to keep such products out of New York.

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