Amazon Won't Ship a Toy Gun to Los Angeles, But It Will Ship a Laser-Powered Rifle Scope

A toy gun that’s banned from being shipped to customers in cities like LA and Chicago (left) and a rifle scope that those same customers can order from Amazon (right)

Just how messed up are American gun laws? If you live in cities like Los Angeles and Chicago, Amazon won’t ship you the toy gun you see on the left. But you know what Amazon can ship you? The rifle scope that’s pictured on the right.

Conservative news orgs like the Daily Caller and Fox News are currently reporting on Chicago’s toy gun ban and the fact that Amazon won’t ship toy guns to the Windy City as though it’s a new thing. But it’s not. There are a host of cities and states that have passed laws over the years making it illegal to sell toy guns that don’t have a large orange stripe on the barrel. New York City has banned realistic-looking toy guns since 1955.


So why are organizations like Fox News focusing on Chicago? Probably because Chicago has an alarmingly high homicide rate, and their boy Trumpy wants to save the day with his version of “law and order.”

Interestingly, one “law and order” measure that Chicago used to have was a complete ban on handguns. But that ban was lifted in 2010, when the Supreme Court ruled in McDonald v. City of Chicago that the city’s handgun ban was unconstitutional. And Mr. Trump has made no mention of wanting to fight for its reinstatement. The ban on toy guns hasn’t made it to our highest court yet.

I tried a few different addresses to test where Amazon would and would not send that silver toy gun pictured above. Chicago? Banned. Los Angeles? Banned. Nashville? Totally fine. I reached out to Amazon for comment, but the company hasn’t replied.

A screenshot showing that the “Western Girl Single Holster Set” containing a toy gun cannot be shipped to Chicago, just as it can’t to many other major US cities (Amazon)

Toy gun sales in the United States have historically tracked with the popularity of the Western as a movie and TV genre. And with a renewed interest in the genre (see: Westworld, The Magnificent Seven), we can probably expect toy gun sales to soar in this country—with bright orange markers emblazoned on them, of course.

Unfortunately, the cities of the United States are only good at regulating the sale of fake guns, not real ones.


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About the author

Matt Novak

Matt Novak is the editor of Gizmodo's Paleofuture blog