New York Attorney General Letitia James is calling for tougher regulation of toy guns, calling it a “fight to promote gun safety and reform gun regulations” by pushing the “Biden-Harris administration” to adopt what she is calling “new, strong, coherent federal regulations mandating distinct visual differences between toy guns, BB/pellet guns, and lethal firearms.”
In a three-page letter to Alexander Hoehn-Saric, Chair Consumer Product Safety Commission and Gina M. Raimondo, Secretary Department of Commerce, James asserts that regulations adopted many years ago “have proven inadequate to protect the health and welfare of Americans.
“As it currently stands,” the letter explains, “toy guns must have only one of the following indicators:
- Have a permanently affixed blaze orange plug inserted in the firearm’s barrel,
- Have a similar marking on the exterior of the barrel,
- Be constructed entirely of transparent or translucent materials, or
- Be covered in certain bright colors.
James says those four indicators together “still make toy guns hard to tell from real ones” and she acknowledges that the required “blaze orange plug” in New York is still frequently removed and/or camouflaged to give toys the appearance of real firearms.
“When toy guns are indistinguishable from actual firearms,” James maintains, “the consequences can, and have been, deadly. We must take action to protect our children and our communities. In my nearly three years as attorney general, I have consistently seen the tragic consequences of split-second decisions when the authenticity of a gun is in question. There should be no opportunity for confusion when individuals’ lives are on the line. We must put people above profit and ensure our police, crime victims, and children can clearly and easily distinguish fake guns from real ones.”
James refers to a study that allegedly “found that police recover thousands of fake crime guns every year, including in approximately 15 percent of all robberies.”
She may have also hinted at a future step in regulating toy guns when she noted in the same paragraph, “Fake guns are commonly available and less expensive than authentic firearms and can be bought legally without a background check or federal record of the transaction, even by individuals who are barred from legally purchasing firearms.”
Requiring background checks for the purchase of toy guns may seem somewhat farfetched, but experience has convinced gun rights activists to take nothing for granted.
Throughout the letter, and the news release, James refers to gun control as “gun safety” as a way to “protect consumers and to take on our gun violence epidemic.”
The news release also noted James lauded the gun control efforts of the Biden administration.
“From the outset,” James stated, “this administration has demonstrated a clear and consistent willingness to use the levers of its regulatory authority to protect consumers and to take on our gun violence epidemic. I believe this issue — which sits at a critical intersection between those two key priorities — deserves to be part of that ambitious agenda.”