NJ Legislature Seeks to Control Sale of Realistic-Looking Toy Guns

Sale of Imitation Firearms in New Jersey The New Jersey State Assembly is currently considering a bill, A-1119, that would prohibit the sale of certain toy guns. The bill was introduced on January 27, 2016, with the Assembly referring the bill to the Appropriations Committee on September 22, 2016.

According the News 12 New Jersey, proponents of the toy gun legislation assert that certain municipalities have already enacted local ordinances that control the sale of toy guns. The proposals were made in response to a number of incidents involving realistic toy guns being used to commit crimes. For example, a Newark teacher described how he recently confiscated a toy gun from a student who had used the weapon to rob two other students.

The legislation would not ban toy guns altogether; instead, it would only prohibit the sale of toy guns that look like real firearms. The proposed law defines a “toy gun” as a reproduction of a firearm that is marketed as a children’s toy and that is substantially similar in appearance, size, and shape to a genuine firearm. The bill specifically states that “a person shall not sell, transfer, or assign a toy gun or imitation firearm unless it is: a color other than black, blue, silver, or aluminum; marked with a non-removable orange stripe that is at least one inch in width and runs the entire length of the barrel on each side of the barrel; and equipped with a barrel at least one inch in diameter that is closed at a distance of at least one-half inch from the front end of the barrel with the same material from which the toy gun or imitation firearm is made.”

A violation of the pending law would not be a criminal offense, but it would subject the offender to a civil penalty of $500 for the first offense and not more than $1,000 for each subsequent offense.

Restricting the Sale of Imitation Firearms in NJ and the 2nd Amendment

Keep in mind that New Jersey’s current gun laws already criminalize the use of an imitation firearm during the commission of another crime. For example, if you use a toy gun or an imitation firearm while robbing someone and the victim believes the imitation weapon to be a real gun, you could be charged with possession of an imitation firearm for an unlawful purpose. That crime is classified as a fourth degree felony under N.J.S.A. 2C:39-4(e) of the New Jersey Criminal Code, with a conviction for that offense potentially resulting in a term of imprisonment of up to 18 months and fines of up to $10,000.