Hudson County Freeholders Recommend Regulations on Toy Imitation Firearms

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Hudson County– The Hudson County Board of Freeholders urge the municipalities of Hudson County to adopt ordinances regulating the sale, possession or use of replica or toy imitation firearms.

Replica or toy firearms are manufactured with such attention to detail that they often cannot be differentiated from real firearms. For law enforcement officers, who often have to make split decisions, the inability to determine quickly whether they are confronting a replica or toy gun instead of a real firearm can be fatal.

Replica or toy imitation firearms are appealing to some children because they are realistic in appearance. They also have been used in robberies and other crimes because they are realistic in appearance.

The authentic look of many replica or toy imitation firearms is increasingly becoming a public safety risk because of the inability of both residents and law enforcement officers to quickly distinguish an actual firearm from an imitation.   This could have devastating consequences such as death or severe injury of citizens, including children of our community.

In the past year, East Orange and Atlantic City have enacted ordinances which ban the sale, possession or use of replica or toy firearms unless each of the following requirements is met: the entire exterior surface of the imitation firearm is colored white, bright red, orange, yellow, blue, pink, or purple; such imitation firearm is constructed entirely of transparent or translucent materials; the barrel of such imitation firearm is closed with the same material of which such imitation firearm is made for a distance of not less than ½ inch from front end of the barrel; the imitation firearm is stamped with the name of the manufacturer or its trade name, mark or brand; the imitation firearm does not have attached a laser pointer.

The ordinances enacted in East Orange and Atlantic City also prohibit, with limited exceptions, the sale or possession of air pistols or air rifles in which the propelling force is a spring or air.

The “Federal Toy Gun Law” requires only minimal markings on toy guns such as a blaze orange plug on the barrel.  Although the federal statute preempts local laws that require inconsistent markings, it has not been found to preclude localities from adopting additional requirements.

It is the strong desire of Chairman Tilo Rivas and the Board of Freeholders to keep County neighborhoods safe and educate the public about the dangers of these replica firearms.  Eliminating the use of replica or toy imitation firearms that are realistic in appearance will assist in keeping communities safe, help avoid tragic incidents involving young person’s carrying imitation or toy firearms who are wounded or killed by police officers who mistake the toy weapon for a real one and serve as a preventative public safety strategy.

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