Hochul targets toy guns in bid to reduce New York crime

The law will 'ensure misleading and potentially dangerous devices are off our streets,' Hochul says

New York Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul signed legislation targeting toy guns that look real in a bid to fight crime in the state. 

"Restricting these realistic-looking devices will ensure misleading and potentially dangerous devices are off our streets, keeping kids, law enforcement and all New Yorkers safe," Hochul said Tuesday when signing the bill. 

The new law requires toy guns be painted with bright colors, such as white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, pink and purple. It is acceptable under the new law that toy guns be entirely transparent. Toy guns that are black, blue, silver or aluminum are prohibited in the state. 

Data from the governor’s office show there have been 63 shootings since 1994 due to an imitation gun being mistaken for a real gun. Eight of the shootings were fatal, according to the data.  

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New York Gov. Kathy Hochul debates in the race for governor at the studios of WNBC4-TV on June 16, 2022, in New York City.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul debates in the race for governor at the studios of WNBC4-TV on June 16, 2022, in New York City. (Craig Ruttle-Pool/Getty Images)

"Improperly designed imitation guns pose an unnecessary and indefensible risk to the lives of our children. Since 1994, there have been at least 63 shootings in New York State as a result of imitation weapons being mistaken for real firearms, at least 8 of which were fatal. From now on, however, toy guns in New York will no longer be mistaken for real weapons," state Sen. Brad Hoylman said, according to the governor’s press release on the law.  

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Similar laws are already in effect in New York City. The law will not apply to toy guns used during theatrical performances. 

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The law will take effect 90 days from when the governor signed the bill on Tuesday.

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The law follows a 2015 settlement reached between then-Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's office and 30 retailers that sold realistic toy guns to people in New York. The law at the time required imitation guns sold in the state not be black, blue, silver or aluminum.