Fake Guns a Real Problem
by Danielle Mastropiero
Nov 06, 2008 | 2809 views | 0 0 comments | 48 48 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) announced Wednesday a $500,000 settlement with Party City Corporation, the largest settlement involving the sale of illegal imitation firearms in the department’s history.

“Fake guns that look real aren’t toys. In fact, they’re so dangerous that selling them is illegal,” said Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “The city is committed to cracking down on every single violator of this public safety law and will seek maximum penalties when businesses fail to get the message.”

In April of 2008, DCA charged Party City with nearly 800 counts of violating the city’s imitation gun law. As part of the settlement, Party City paid a half-million dollars in fines to the city and agreed to not sell or advertise illegal fake guns in New York City in the future.

Most notably, DCA required Party City to pay for an independent monitor who will perform unannounced weekly inspections of Party City’s shelves and review its advertising in New York City over the next year. Further, to ensure Party City’s compliance, the settlement allows DCA to double the fine for future imitation gun violations from $1,000 to $2,000.

Under New York City’s Public Safety Law, it is illegal to sell or offer to sell a fake or imitation firearm that can be reasonably perceived to be an actual firearm, unless the majority of the exterior surface of the illegal, fake, or imitation firearm is brightly colored. The range of acceptable colors include white, bright red, bright orange, bright yellow, bright green, bright blue, bright pink, and bright purple.

In 2003, the Department settled charges against Party City that included a payment of $150,000 in fines and a commitment not to sell illegal fake guns.

Since 2002, DCA enforcement teams have removed more than 7,000 guns from the shelves of more than 220 stores throughout the city, and levied $3.3 million in fines. More than 95 percent of stores that were issued violations in the past were in compliance upon follow-up inspections.

Mintz also issued a consumer alert reminding New Yorkers that they should not purchase fake guns that look real.

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