Eric Schneiderman for Attorney General

Online toy gun retailers agree to pay fines for illegal New York sales, make brightly colored models that are obvious fakes

May 18, 2016

As published in the Daily News on December 15, 2015.

ALBANY — While Congress continues to dither over strengthening gun control, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman Tuesday morning announced settlements with 30 online companies that sold more than 5,000 illegal toy guns to customers in New York.

State law prohibits the sale of toy guns that look too much like the real thing.

But Schneiderman’s office found that 30 online retailers from across the country used Amazon.com to skirt the law. The third-party sellers offered the products through Amazon’s retail marketplace platform.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns, there can be tragic consequences,” Schneiderman said. “I will continue to enforce this law so that we can avoid putting both children and law enforcement officials at risk.”

Of the 5,000 or so illegal toy guns, 1,337 were sold to New York City customers, Schneiderman said.

State law requires that toy guns be either brightly colored or have a colored stripe down the barrel, making it easier for law enforcement to recognize them as fakes.

Schneiderman’s office sent online companies cease and desist letters this summer and reached settlements with the 30 retailers over the past two weeks.

Under the agreement, the online companies agreed to voluntarily follow New York City’s tougher standard that the toy guns be brightly colored. The 31 companies also agreed to a combined $30,000 in fines.

Schneiderman several months ago announced a $309,000 settlement with Walmart, Kmart, Amazon.com, Sears and other major retailers, who were found to also be selling illegal toy guns.