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Post date: January 4 2001

Spitzer Sues Four Westchester Dollar Stores For Selling Fake Guns

Attorney General Spitzer announced today that his office has sued four Westchester County "dollar" stores for selling toy guns in violation of state law.

Under state law, imitation guns must have a non-removable orange stripe to clearly delineate them from real weapons. The Attorney General is responsible for enforcing the law.

The case came to the Attorney General's attention based on a report by the New Rochelle Police Department that two students at the Isaac E. Young Middle School in New Rochelle were suspended last fall for bringing the toy guns into school. The guns had been bought at Mitch's 99 Cents store in New Rochelle.

An investigation of ten Westchester County stores by the Attorney General's office found that three other area stores were selling the imitation guns as well.

"The sale of these imitation guns is not only illegal, but constitutes a tragedy waiting to happen," said Spitzer. "Just a few months ago in California, a man with a toy gun at a Halloween party was shot and killed by the police after they thought he was carrying a real gun.

"Just imagine a police officer facing one of these fake guns at night or from a distance, and then having to make a split second, life or death decision as to whether it's real or not. The law is very clear when it comes to the sale of imitation guns and we are going to do everything in our power to ensure that stores obey the law and in doing so, help prevent tragic accidents."

Spitzer noted that there are five schools located within a mile of Mitch's. The stores being sued are:

  • Mitch's 99 Cents, 535 Main Street, New Rochelle, (9 guns purchased);

  • Everything 99 Cents, Jefferson Valley Mall, Jefferson Valley, (12 guns purchased);

  • Dollar Limit, 223 Main Street, White Plains (3 guns purchased);


  • $1 Zone, 2500 Central Park Avenue, Yonkers (4 guns purchased).

Under Spitzer's civil suit, the stores are being sued for $1,000 for each gun that was sold to his investigators, as well as $500 for each gun sold under a Deceptive Practices statute, and $2,000 for costs.

Det. Calvin McGee, a firearms instructor from the New Rochelle Police Department, said, "These guns bear a strong resemblance to real firearms and cannot be easily distinguished from actual weapons. If a law enforcement officer or a civilian were confronted with these imitation guns, they could easily mistake it for a real firearm, and such a mistake could result in a defensive action, resulting in death or serious physical injury to the person holding the fake gun."

The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Deborah Scalise, under the direction of the head of the Westchester Regional Office, Gary Brown.