PATERSON - City leaders in Paterson want to keep kids from buying realistic toy guns, since an increased number of them are showing up in schools.
Fake handguns and shotguns are being marketed to kids and sold in many Paterson bodegas, and Mayor Jeffery Jones says he wants parents to be more conscious about what their kids are playing with.
Jones is leading a push to restrict kids' access to toy guns by banning certain stores, especially ones near schools, from selling them.
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"These things lead to negatives and we need to be conscious of it," he says.
The effort began a few months ago, when a concerned principal told the superintendent that kids were bringing toy guns to school. The superintendent sent a letter to the mayor urging him to take action.
"All of that can have a negative outcome," Jones says. "And we can stop it. And that's really what the purpose is."
Parents and grandparents think banning toy guns from stores is a good idea. "That was one of the things I did not allow them to play with, because it sends the wrong message to the children," says Gwendolyn Ndubusis.
Officials say parents often don't know their kids have purchased the toy guns, and kids often paint the orange tips black, to make them look more realistic.
Supporters of the ban say the best way to minimize kids' fascination with them is to keep them out of their hands altogether.
Under the proposal, stores caught selling toy guns could be fined and have their merchandise confiscated.
The city attorney is drafting the ordinance. A vote has not yet been announced.