Hempstead, NY - December 21, 2016 - Village of Hempstead Mayor Wayne Hall and Hempstead Village Police Officials will join New York Toy Gun Exchange Program founder Jean Shafiroff at a press conference today, Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 2:00 pm at Brierley Park in Hempstead, NY to announce an exchange of toy guns for other, more appropriate toys in light of recent shooting tragedies that have occurred nationwide. Recently, 15 year old Joshua Guzman was shot and killed in Hempstead.
Since 1994, there have been at least 63 shootings linked to toy guns in New York State that resulted in at least eight deaths, according to the Attorney General's office. The Long Island Toy Gun Exchange Program is being sponsored by the Village of Hempstead and the toys are being donated by Ms. Shafiroff to stop gun violence - before it starts. Hempstead Village Police and other law enforcement officials will be attending the news conference. This is one of the first programs of its kind in the Long Island/New York City metropolitan area. Kids are invited to turn in their water pistols, replica fire arms and other imitation weapons for sporting goods, educational items and safe toys.
Gun violence in the U.S. has reached epidemic proportions, according to law enforcement officials. More than 30,000 people are killed by firearms each year in this country. Every day, more than thirty people are shot and murdered, one half between the ages of 18 and 35. One third of those killed daily are under the age of twenty. A mass murder - four deaths or more - occurred each day this year in the U.S. including the recent Orlando night club shooting where 49 people were tragically killed.
Last year, Disneyland banned toy guns in their theme parks. Walmart and Amazon have stopped sales of toy guns that look real in New York State. Toys 'R' Us stopped selling toy guns more than 20 years ago. There have been calls for similar bans in toy stores throughout the United States.