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Beware of Selling Toy Guns as NY Cracks Down on Amazon, Retailers

If you sell toys online, you should be aware of restrictions placed on the sale of toy guns. The New York Attorney General is investigating the sale of prohibited toy guns on Amazon and other retailers online and offline.

Eric Schneiderman’s office sent cease and desist letters to several major retailers, including Wal-Mart, Amazon.com, K-Mart, Sears, ToyArsenal.com, and others, for allegedly selling prohibited toy guns online to residents of New York State, and, in at least one case, in a K-Mart store in suburban Rochester.

The AG said at least four individuals have been killed in New York State since 1997, and one child seriously wounded, when law enforcement officers mistook toy guns for real guns.

The Attorney General said the letters stemmed from an ongoing investigation, but the problem gained widespread attention in the media last month when police in Cleveland mistook a toy gun for a real gun and shot a 12-year-old child, as CNN reported.

New York state law prohibits the sale of imitation guns in realistic colors such as black, blue, silver, or aluminum, unless it has a non-removable one-inch-wide orange stripe running down both sides of the barrel and the front end of the barrel.

The cease and desist letters call for retailers to immediately stop the in-store and online sale and shipment to New Yorkers of toy guns that violate New York State law pending the resolution of Attorney General Schneiderman’s investigation.

In his announcement, Schneiderman said, “New York State law is clear: retailers cannot put children and law enforcement at risk by selling toy guns that are virtually indistinguishable from the real thing.”

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.