Victory! New York stops sale of toy guns, levies massive fines

The people of New York can sleep soundly in their beds tonight, knowing that their diligent Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has scored a major victory in the war on guns. I’m not talking about the illegal handguns favored by the majority of gang members driving up the murder rate in New York City or the “assault rifles” which are manufactured right in our own state. No, this was a victory over toy guns. (Press&Sun Bulletin)

Three dozen online retailers will no longer be able to sell realistic-looking toy guns, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Schneiderman reached a settlement with 30 online toy gun retailers who sell their products through The third-party retailers have sold over 5,000 imitation toy guns in New York, and they are illegal because they did not meet state safety standards, he said.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns, there can be tragic consequences,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “New York state law prohibits the sale of imitation weapons that closely resemble real guns.”

We may not be able to put the actual criminals in jail at a reasonable rate, but by golly we’re going to stick it to those toy retailers. The 30 or so retailers are paying fines which total more than $27K. (That’s on top of his move back in August when he nailed Amazon, Kmart, Sears, Wal-Mart and ACTA for $300K, so if nothing else the state coffers are getting fatter.) If these scofflaws want to peddle their dangerous wares in the Empire State in the future they will have to be colored “white or bright red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink or purple.”

The genesis of these laws is actually rooted in a problem which is a legitimate concern. If there’s a kid out there in a public place waving around what looks like a gun, pointing it at pedestrians or, even worse, the police, something bad can and sometimes will happen. But the fault in those cases isn’t with the plastic toy in the child’s hands, but in the lack of parenting at home. The solution which the government has chosen is feckless at best because it offers two new scenarios which likely lead to more damage than cure. People who buy these toys with brightly colored rings on the end of the barrel can easily either cut them off or cover them up with some shoe polish or a black magic marker. Even more disturbing is the concern raised by many cops that real criminals will take their very real guns and paint them with florescent paint. That could lead a cop to hesitate at a crucial moment, winding up dead themselves rather than getting the bad guy.

This is all part of the war on guns. For some additional reading, stop by National Review today, where Jonah Goldberg explains why the war on guns failed while the war on tobacco was a success.

Smoking was, until recently, a very bipartisan habit. City mice and country mice alike would walk a mile for a Camel.

The universality of smoking made it possible to proselytize against it without unleashing a full-blown kulturkampf. Sure, conservatives and libertarians complained — often correctly by my lights — about lost liberties, but an attack on smoking, backed up by solid evidence, didn’t simultaneously feel like an attack on one cultural group by another.

Because nonsmokers knew smokers, the war on tobacco could be fought face-to-face in our homes, businesses, movie theaters, planes, trains, and automobiles. And when nonsmokers pleaded with their friends and loved ones to give up tobacco, they at least understood the appeal of smoking. Cigarette America wasn’t a foreign country. You can’t say the same thing about Gun America.

It’s a great analysis and explains in a tidy fashion how struggles against real problems can make remarkable progress when you know your opponent and deal with them honestly… like real people. But a highly politicized fight based on speculative “evidence” at best is probably just going to get your debate partner up on their hind legs, kicking and screaming. Food for thought for the anti-gun rights lobby.


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