Walmart, Sears, Amazon & Other Retailers Agree Not To Sell Realistic-Looking Toy Guns In NY

A prohibited toy gun from Amazon, via the NY AG's office.

A prohibited toy gun from Amazon, via the NY AG’s office.

Almost eight months after New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman sent cease-and-desist letters to several retailers including Amazon, Walmart, Sears and Kmart, those companies have agreed not to sell realistic-looking guns in the state.

The retailers have agreed to stick to New York City laws governing the sale of toy guns — they can’t be blue, black, silver or aluminum and must be brightly colored or translucent — as part of settlements with Schneiderman’s office to be announced on Monday. Federal law requires toy guns to have an orange stripe near the tip as well.

The A.G.’s office found that more than 6,400 toy guns violated New York laws from 2012 to 2014.

“Police officers can’t tell in a split second if it’s a real gun or toy gun,” Schneiderman told NBC News’ Today show (warning, link has video that autoplays) on Monday. “We’ve had 63 people shot in New York because law enforcement officers thought the toy gun was a real gun — that’s not acceptable.”

It’s also an issue elsewhere in the country: in November, 12-year-old Tamir Rice was playing with a toy gun when he was shot and killed by a police officer in Cleveland.

“There have been instances in states around the country in which police officers have mistaken toy guns for actual guns,” Schneiderman told the New York Times. “It’s an absolutely unnecessary risk, because toy guns, as New York law requires, can be easily distinguishable.”

Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Ohio, Nebraska and New York all introduced legislation to create or amend toy gun laws, while about a half dozen others already have laws on the books, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Walmart will be on the hook for the bulk of the civil penalties, because it was found to have violated terms of a 2003 agreement to keep the toy guns in question out of the state. None of its physical stores sold illegal toy guns, but Schneiderman’s office said consumers bought 149 of them through

“Once the New York attorney general expressed concern with certain items sold at we blocked the shipment of those items into the state,” a Walmart spokesman told the NYT, noting that Walmart beefed up its policies to keep the toys from being sold in the future. “We are pleased we were able to resolve this matter, along with several other retailers.”

Sears Holdings said through a spokesman that the company is “pleased” to resolve the AG’s concerns, while Amazon did not comment.

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