Five major retailers agreed to pay $300,000 in penalties for selling thousands of toy guns prohibited by New York, the state’s attorney general announced today in a press conference.
The companies — Walmart, Amazon.com, Sears, Kmart and California-based ACTA — agreed to pay the fines and adopt New York City’s strict appearance standards for toy guns, which require toy guns to be brightly colored and with markings along the sides and tip of the gun barrel.
“Time and again, these retailers put profits over safety, putting children and police officers at high risk of a tragic encounter,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said.
The attorney general’s office launched an investigation into the sale of toy guns in The Empire State last year and found from 2012 through 2014 the retailers sold more than 6,000 toy guns that failed to meet New York’s standards. In December, the attorney general’s office sent cease and desist letters to the retailers urging them to immediately stop the sale of the prohibited items in New York.
All of the retailers sold the items to New Yorkers through their online stores, except for Kmart, which actually had items on shelves at brick and mortar locations. The state fined each company $50 per toy gun sold online, and $500 per toy gun sold in stores.
Kmart, Amazon.com, Sears and ACTA will pay more than $84,000 in combined fines and costs, but Walmart was slapped with the biggest fine and agreed to pay $225,000 to the state. In addition to violating state law, the company also violated a similar 2003 agreement with the state, in which the company agreed to stop selling realistic looking toy guns in New York.
The attorney general’s office said hundreds of crimes have been committed in New York City with toy guns, and there have been at leas 63 shootings in the state since 1994 as a result of someone holding a toy guns.