Action #1: Sign a petition to stop Target’s sale of assault-style toy guns.
This all started with a Target ad on the Sunday after Thanksgiving featured a Nerf gun called a “Fortnite AR-E blaster.” The toy gun was shaped like an AR-15, the weapon of choice for mass shootings—including the school shootings at Margery Stoneman Douglas HS in Parkland, FL and Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, CT. In these times of horrific gun violence, people are asking our retailers to step up and stop selling toys modeled on AR-15s or other assault-style weapons. This is not inconceivable. Walmart ended sales of realistic assault-styled toys and Target puts itself out as a responsible corporation that helps communities.
MoveOn has a petition to ask Target to end sales of toys styled after assault weapons.
Read more about this issue and sign the petition here.
Action #2: Hey, don’t forget Amazon!
‘Tis the season of inappropriate gifts and Amazon has just withdrawn Holocaust-themed Christmas ornaments and bath towels. Let’s ask them to go a bit further. We can’t replicate their onsite photos so just click this link: “toy guns that look like assault rifles“. What you’ll see will include:
- A whole set of weapons for the holidays!
- This air gun
- This BB-firing rifle and this air rifle which don’t have the orange tips, or any other colored parts.
Very few of the “realistic” products on the page looked like they complied with CA standards. (see “Deep Dive” below.)
If their toy gun page disturbs you as much as the Target offerings, send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Or write a snail mail to:
CEO Jeff Bezos
P.O. Box 81226
Seattle, WA 98108
Feel free to quote from Amazons’ actual statement to sellers of what they won’t sell, which we’ve copied here for your convenience.
“Offensive and Controversial Materials
Amazon’s Offensive Products policies apply to all products except books, music, video and DVD.
Amazon does not allow products that promote, incite or glorifyhatred, violence, racial, sexual or religious intolerance or promote organizations with such views. We’ll also remove listings that graphically portray violence or victims of violence.
We maintain these policies to ensure a welcoming environment for our global customers and selling partners to do business while offering the widest selection of items on earth. We promote trust and respect, as well as adherence to the law.
We exercise judgment in allowing or prohibiting listings and we keep our global community of customers and cultural differences and sensitivities in mind when reviewing and making a decision on products.
Listings for items that Amazon deems offensive are prohibited on Amazon.com. Amazon reserves the right to determine the appropriateness of listings on its site, and remove any listing at any time. If you supply a product in violation of our Offensive products policies, we will take corrective actions, as appropriate, including but not limited to immediately suspending or terminating seller privileges, destroying inventory in our fulfillment centers without reimbursement, returning inventory, terminating the business relationship, and permanent withholding of payments (as applicable).
Examples of Products We Prohibit
Violence, Intolerance, and Hate
- Products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
- Products that promote, incite, or glorify hate or violence towards any person or group. This includes products that contain violent or offensive material that has no historical significance. Amazon reserves the right to make a determination on the historical value of the item.
- Products that promote or glorify suicide
- Products related to terrorist organizations
- Products that promote or glorify people that have been found guilty of violent or sexual crimes.
- Products that promote intolerance based on race, religion, and sexual orientation.
- Products that contain racially derogatory language
Human Tragedies and Disasters
- Products related to human tragedies and natural disasters
Child Abuse and Exploitation
- Products that depict child abuse/exploitation
- Products intended for use by children that contains adult content, profanity and/or sexual references
- Products depicting children or characters resembling children in a sexually suggestive manner
- Products marketed to or targeted at kids or teenagers that are age-inappropriate.”
Deeper dive into toy guns
There are a lot of states that list all or some of non-powder guns as dangerous weapons, because they can actually harm or kill people. Non-powder based guns are any gun, toy, BB or air, that doesn’t use an explosion within the chamber to propel a projectile such as a bullet. Here are the CA rules for non-powder and toy guns. Amazon expects sellers to comply with state rules for gun-related items, but information regarding various prohibitions does not seem to appear on any product description, and no warnings flashed for age restrictions or improper lack of markings when we tested “almost buying” one of their “toys”.
- CA prohibits selling a BB device to a person under 18.
- CA prohibits, starting January 1, 2016, a spot marker gun which expels a projectile that is greater than 10mm caliber.
- Check to see if the BB gun you’re looking at online complies with a California law. Most didn’t look like they did. BB devices that is 6mm or 8mm caliber are required to have,
- when configured as a handgun, a trigger guard with fluorescent coloration over the entire guard and a fluorescent adhesive band around the pistol grip, or,
- when configured as a long gun, a fluorescent trigger guard AND a fluorescent adhesive band around the circumference of any two of the following: 1) the pistol grip, 2) the buttstock, or 3) a protruding ammunition magazine or clip;
- all of these requirements are in addition to the blaze orange ring on the barrel required by federal law. This new law is designed to prevent situations where law enforcement officers may confuse BB or Airsoft guns with real firearms.
- CA also prohibits selling imitation firearms other than those in the categories above, unless the entire surface is certain bright colors, or which is entirely transparent so that the contents are completely visible;
- Does playing with guns cause aggression? It can be a factor in aggression, more scientific study needs to be done. (health.howstuffworks.com)(mothermag)
- Has any store stopped selling toys resembling assault-style rifles? Yes. Walmart.
- Are toy guns a “gateway drug” for the NRA?
- Is gun culture inevitable?
- Can kids reliably determine between play and real guns? Not always. A child who often drank water from the barrel end of his squirt guns found his mom’s unsecured gun.
- Is it dangerous for children to carry replica toy guns? Yes, indeed.
- According to a 1990 U.S. Department of Justice study, 186 police departments reported that in one, four-year period, officers mistook toy or imitation guns for the real thing more than 1,000 times and, in 252 of those cases, the officers responded with force. Would you trust a loved child’s life to an orange tip that can fall off, or be pulled off? Tamir Rice died for want of a little piece of plastic.
- Jack Pickett, owner of Harry Beckwith Gun and Range in Micanopy and a firearm safety instructor, said BB guns and the like are no different than firearms and can cause injury and death as they can fire at the speed of traditional guns.
- According to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, tens of thousands of children and teens have been injured in accidents involving “non-powder based” guns since 2001, especially eye injuries.
- A police officer in Hillsborough, North Carolina posted this after buying an Airlift replica gun. (see picture below, story here.)