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Amazon Targeted over Guns while Sellers Settle with NY State

A day after the New York Attorney General announced a settlement with 30 Amazon sellers over the sale of toy guns, UK newspaper the Guardian published an expose about the alleged illegal sale of real weapons on Amazon.

The newspaper said it purchased three weapons on Amazon.co.uk, including a pistol that fires a jet of high-strength pepper spray at 112mph; a stun gun disguised as a torch; and a baseball cap containing a hidden stabbing knuckleduster in its peak. The sale of all three is illegal, according to the article.

The stun gun and cap were dispatched to the Guardian by independent Amazon sellers in the US and Israel respectively, it reported.

The Guardian said Amazon removed items from its site after being notified by the newspaper and said Amazon issued a statement that all sellers must follow its guidelines. However, the newspaper said “Amazon declined to comment on the fact it is the seller of Guardian Angel II pepper pistols.”

Meanwhile New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced on Tuesday it had reached settlement agreements with 30 online retailers from across the US that “sold illegal toy guns to consumers in New York State.” It follows a related investigation of major retailers this summer that included Walmart, Kmart, Amazon.com, and Sears.

As EcommerceBytes reported in October, Amazon cracked down on third-party merchants who were selling toys such as Nerf Blasters, marshmallow shooters, and super soakers – you can find the letter Amazon sent sellers in the post.

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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/.