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September 30, 2003:

The Honorable Edolphus Towns:

House of Representatives:

Subject: Information Generally Not Available on Toy Gun Issues Related 
to Crime, Injuries or Deaths, and Long-Term Impact:

Dear Mr. Towns:

This report responds to your request that we provide you with 
information on several issues related to the use of toy guns. 
Specifically, you asked that we (1) examine crime statistics showing 
the prevalence of crimes that involved toy guns in some capacity; (2) 
gather any available information on incidents involving toy guns that 
have resulted in injuries or deaths, whether or not related to criminal 
activity; and (3) determine from available literature whether there are 
any studies examining the long-term impacts that can be attributed to 
toy gun play by children.

As agreed with your office, we focused our study on imitation or look-
alike toy guns and excluded toy guns that fire projectiles, for 
example, BB guns, paintball guns, and pellet guns. To obtain relevant 
information, we conducted an extensive literature search using the 
Internet and other electronic resources to identify applicable 
statistics, reports, studies, articles, or other publications. In 
addition, we contacted federal officials at various agencies, including 
the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), the 
Department of Health and Human Services' Centers for Disease Control 
and Prevention (CDC), and the Consumer Product Safety Commission 
(CPSC). Furthermore, we interviewed university researchers or 
academicians and contacted the counsel for the Toy Industry 
Association. We performed our work from May to August 2003 in 
accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. 
Enclosure I presents more details on our objectives, scope, and 
methodology.

Results in Brief:

Our study disclosed that scant data exist on the incidence of crimes, 
injuries, or deaths involving toy guns and on the long-term effects 
that childhood play with toy guns may have on individuals. Available 
data on crimes involving toy guns are dated and insufficient for 
providing a national perspective. Also, databases that collect 
information from hospital emergency rooms and other sources regarding 
product-related injuries and deaths generally are not designed to 
capture information about incidents involving toy guns. Thus, the 
relatively few cases of such incidents that were recorded in these 
databases probably do not represent an accurate or comprehensive 
reporting. Finally, our literature search found no publications or 
studies specifically addressing the long-term effects of childhood play 
with toy guns.

Crimes Involving the Use of Toy Guns:

In response to our inquiries, officials at three of the Department of 
Justice components we contacted--the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, 
Firearms and Explosives; the National Institute of Justice; and the 
Federal Bureau of Investigation--said they had no information about 
crimes involving the use of toy guns. Generally, the only data we found 
regarding the use of toy guns in crimes are presented in a June 1990 
report--Toy Guns: Involvement in Crime & Encounters With Police--
prepared by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), under a 
cooperative agreement with BJS.[Footnote 1] In response to our inquiry, 
in June 2003, BJS informed us the agency has no current plans to 
sponsor or undertake a follow-up study to update the 1990 report.

In conducting its study, PERF surveyed 699 state and local law 
enforcement agencies and received 458 usable responses (a response rate 
of 66 percent). PERF's report does not include information on whether 
the nonrespondents differed in significant ways from the respondents. 
Without such information, it is not possible to determine if the lack 
of response from 34 percent of the agencies distorted the findings.

Among other questions, the survey solicited information on the number 
of robberies and assaults that involved the use of toy guns during the 
period January 1, 1985, to September 1, 1989. According to PERF, police 
department reporting systems typically are not coded to identify the 
involvement of imitation or toy guns in crimes. As a result, most 
responding agencies provided information from either a manual records 
check or a solicitation of information from officers. Relying on 
officers' memories may have resulted in either an under-or over-
reporting of incidents involving toy guns. For the period January 1, 
1985, to September 1, 1989,

* 148 law enforcement agencies (32 percent of the 458 usable responses) 
reported a total of 2,796 robberies committed with the use of toy guns 
and:

* 121 law enforcement agencies (26 percent of the 458 usable responses) 
reported a total of 3,104 assaults committed with the use of toy guns.

As a collateral issue, PERF also reported that--for the period January 
1, 1985, to September 1, 1989--law enforcement agencies seized a total 
of 10,065 toy guns. According to PERF, this total does not include guns 
that were stolen property. Rather, the total consists only of those toy 
guns that were directly or indirectly involved in an incident--such as 
robbery, assault, domestic disturbance, suspicious person, etc.--where 
the police took some form of action.

The PERF researchers concluded that insufficient data were available to 
clearly determine whether the use of toy guns to commit crimes was a 
serious problem, particularly in comparison to all crimes of violence 
and police-involved shootings throughout the nation. As noted above, 
two factors--response rate issues and concerns about the reliability of 
information based to some extent on officers' recall of incidents--
result in reservations about the findings. Enclosure II presents more 
details about PERF's report.

Injuries or Deaths Involving Toy Guns:

One way an injury or death could occur is for a police officer to 
mistake a toy gun for a real firearm. As part of PERF's survey, 
researchers asked law enforcement agencies to report the number of 
incidents where officers had used actual force (deadly or less than 
deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was real. For the study 
period (Jan. 1, 1985, to Sep. 1, 1989), 31 law enforcement agencies (7 
percent of the 458 usable responses) reported a total of 105 applicable 
incidents where officers had used actual force, either deadly or less 
than deadly (see table 3 in enc. II). PERF's report did not specify how 
many of the 105 incidents resulted in injuries nor how many resulted in 
deaths.

To further determine the availability of information on incidents 
involving toy guns that have resulted in injuries or deaths, whether or 
not related to criminal activity, we contacted two federal agencies--
CPSC and CDC--that have databases with information on health and/or 
safety issues. At our request, CPSC officials reviewed the agency's 
three major databases that provide information on product-related 
hazards, and the officials reported the following to us:

National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. This system collects 
information and provides national estimates on the number of victims 
treated in hospital emergency rooms for product-related injuries. The 
entire system includes 98 hospitals reporting almost 700,000 cases each 
year. For the period January 2000 to July 2003, the database showed 301 
incidents of injuries that resulted from many hazard patterns involving 
toy guns, including children swinging or throwing toy guns. According 
to CPSC, the 301 incidents encompass the broad category of toy guns--
not just the limited category of replica guns. CPSC's review of about 
100 of these incidents that involved victims aged 10 years or older 
disclosed no injury incidents in which police officers mistook toy guns 
for real firearms.

Death Certificate System. This database contains records of death 
certificates for product-related deaths from each of the 50 states. The 
database excludes data on firearm-related deaths but may record deaths 
involving toy guns not caused by a firearm. For the most recent 10 
years (1993 through 2002), the database showed no cases of deaths 
involving toy guns or situations where police officers mistook toy guns 
for real firearms.

Incident Data Base. This data file contains records of cases received 
from news clips, medical examiner reports, consumer complaints, and 
reports from other sources. For the most recent 10 years (1993 through 
2002), the data file showed four cases of individuals being fatally 
shot by police officers who mistook toy guns for real firearms.

CPSC officials told us that these statistics on police shootings 
involving toy guns likely represent an undercounting of such incidents. 
The officials explained that CPSC would not generally collect data on 
police shootings because the agency's focus is on consumer product 
issues rather than firearms.

CDC is a data contributor and has inquiry access to CPSC's National 
Electronic Injury Surveillance System. At our request, CDC officials 
reviewed the system's database. For the 1 year reviewed (2001), the 
officials reported identifying 66 incidents involving toy guns. Of 
these 66 incidents, the majority (62) involved individuals 0 to 19 
years of age, and the remaining 4 incidents occurred among the over-19 
age group.

According to the CDC officials, of the 62 incidents among individuals 0 
to 19 years old, 57 incidents involved unintentional injuries, such as 
choking on a toy gun part or being hit with toy gun or projectile part. 
The other 5 incidents apparently were reported to the police as being 
assaults and involved children hitting other children with a toy gun 
while fighting or engaging in rough play. CDC officials described these 
5 incidents as follows:

A 13-year old child was hit on head with a plastic gun.

A 12-year old female was hit on the elbow by a toy gun.

A 12-year old male was injured in a fight involving a toy gun.

A 7-year old was poked in the right eye with a plastic gun.

An individual was struck on the head by a toy gun.

Also, CDC officials told us that the agency's National Violent Death 
Reporting System (NVDRS)--being designed to collect information on all 
violent deaths, including those involving toy guns--was not yet 
operational. The officials referred us to Harvard University's National 
Violent Injury Statistics System (NVISS), which is a pilot program for 
CDC's NVDRS and encompasses 12 sites nationwide.[Footnote 2] The co-
director of the pilot program told us that the NVISS database contained 
information for 2 years (2000 and 2001) but does not include a variable 
to facilitate an electronic search for injuries or deaths involving toy 
gun incidents. Nevertheless, the co-director responded to our questions 
based on her knowledge of the database and her review of the more 
recent year's (2001) data for 7 sites--Connecticut, Maine, Wisconsin, 
Utah, San Francisco, Miami-Dade County, and Allegany County. For the 
2001 data, the co-director reported finding no deaths involving toy 
guns. In addition, the co-director did not recall seeing any toy gun-
related deaths in the first year's (2000) data.

Our literature search found that, in 1987, the American Academy of 
Pediatrics' Committee on Accident and Poison Prevention issued a policy 
statement, which said that, "The main hazard presented by nonprojectile 
toy guns is that children who play with them may inadvertently be drawn 
to playing with real weapons which they:

mistake for toys."[Footnote 3] The policy statement recommended that 
pediatricians counsel parents concerning the hazards of having toy guns 
in the house.

Long-Term Effects of Childhood Play with Toy Guns:

Our literature search of social science, scientific, educational, crime 
and justice, and other journals and publications disclosed no 
authoritative study on the possible long-term effects on individuals of 
childhood play with toy guns. Generally, the literature discussed 
numerous possible causes of aggressive behavior, including exposure to 
violence in video games and television, and did not focus specifically 
on childhood play with toy guns.

One exception we found was a 1992 Brandeis University study, entitled 
"The Relation Between Toy Gun Play and Children's Aggressive 
Behavior."[Footnote 4] The study was based on a small number of 
preschoolers in one daycare center and found limited evidence that toy 
gun play was associated with increased real aggression and with 
decreased pretend aggression in free-play settings. However, due to the 
small number of children involved, all from one location and in one 
setting, the results are not generalizable to other children. Further, 
the analytical method used may have overstated the significance of the 
association between toy gun play and aggression. In addition, the study 
did not examine whether longer-term associations between toy gun play 
and future aggression are likely.

Furthermore, we contacted the senior scientific editor of a 2001 
report--Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General--to discuss the 
extent, if any, that the study addressed or considered the long-term 
impacts attributable to toy gun play by children.[Footnote 5] This 
individual said that the Surgeon General's study focused on violence 
involving real firearms and did not consider toy gun issues. He 
expressed unawareness of any research on the long-term effects of 
childhood play with toy guns.

Agency Comments:

We provided a draft of this report for comment to the Department of 
Justice, the Department of Health and Human Services, and CPSC. During 
the period September 17-25, 2003, we received written or oral comments 
from these agencies. The comments indicated that the draft accurately 
presented the information that we had obtained from the respective 
agency. Also, the Department of Health and Human Services (including 
CDC) and CPSC provided technical clarifications, which we incorporated 
in this report where appropriate.

As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce its contents 
earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report until 30 days 
after its issue date. At that time, we will provide copies to the 
Attorney General, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, and the 
Executive Director of CPSC. We will also make copies available to 
others on request.

If you have any questions about this report, please contact me at (202) 
512-8777 or Assistant Director, Danny R. Burton, at (214) 777-5600. 
Other key contributors to this report were Fredrick D. Berry, Ann H. 
Finley, SaraAnn W. Moessbauer, Julia A. Rachiele, Miguel A. Salas, and 
Susan B. Wallace.

Sincerely yours,

Laurie E. Ekstrand:

Director, Homeland Security and Justice Issues:

Signed by: Laurie E. Ekstrand:

Enclosures-2:

Enclosure I:

Objectives, Scope, and Methodology:

Objectives:

Representative Edolphus Towns asked us to (1) examine crime statistics 
showing the prevalence of crimes that involved toy guns in some 
capacity; (2) gather any available information on incidents involving 
toy guns that have resulted in injuries or deaths, whether or not 
related to criminal activity; and (3) determine from available 
literature whether there are any studies examining the long-term 
impacts that can be attributed to toy gun play by children.

Scope and Methodology:

As agreed with the requester's office, we focused our study on 
imitation or look-alike toy guns and excluded toy guns that fire 
projectiles, for example, BB guns, paintball guns, and pellet guns. To 
obtain relevant information, we conducted a literature search using the 
Internet and other electronic resources to identify applicable 
statistics, reports, studies, articles, or other publications. 
Specifically, we used keywords/key phrases to search the following 
three major sources:

Dialog. Dialog provides access to over 800 databases covering 
scientific and technical literature, trade journals, and newswires. Our 
search covered the period January 1, 1990, to July 10, 2003.

Nexis. Nexis provides access to news stories in major U.S. newspapers. 
Our search covered the period January 1, 2000, to July 11, 2003.

Nexis' Statistical Universe. This source provides access to three data 
files--(1) the American Statistics Index, which covers statistical 
publications of the U.S. government; (2) the Statistical Reference 
Index, which covers statistical publications from sources other than 
the U.S. government; and (3) the Index to International Statistics, 
which covers international publications. Our search of these three data 
files covered the periods beginning in 1973, 1980, and 1983, 
respectively, to July 31, 2003.

In addition to the literature search, we contacted various federal 
agencies, university researchers or academicians, and a representative 
of the Toy Industry Association (see table 1).

Enclosure I:

Table 1: Federal Agencies, Universities, and the Trade Association GAO 
Contacted:

Position of person contacted: 

Federal agencies: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; 
Position of person contacted: Audit Liaison.

Federal agencies: Bureau of Justice Statistics; Position of person 
contacted: Statistical Policy Advisor for Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Federal agencies: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention--National 
Center for Injury Prevention and Control; Position of person 
contacted: Director, Office of Statistics and Programming.

Position of person contacted: Deputy Director; Position of person 
contacted: Office of Policy, Evaluation, and Legislation.

Position of person contacted: Medical Epidemiologist, Division of 
Violence Prevention.

Federal agencies: Consumer Product Safety Commission; Position of 
person contacted: Executive Director.

Position of person contacted: Deputy Executive Director.

Position of person contacted: Assistant Executive Director for Hazard 
Identification and Reduction.

Position of person contacted: Program Manager, Hazard Identification 
and Reduction.

Position of person contacted: Director, Data Systems - Epidemiology.

Federal agencies: Federal Bureau of Investigation; Position of person 
contacted: Attorney Liaison.

Federal agencies: National Institute of Justice; Position of person 
contacted: Audit Liaison, Office of Justice 
Programs.

Universities: University of California, Davis (Davis, Cal.); Position 
of person contacted: Director, Violence 
Prevention Research Program (Sacramento, Cal.).

Universities: University of Central Florida (Orlando, Fla.); Position 
of person contacted: Provost Distinguished 
Research Professor, Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Universities: University of Colorado (Boulder, Colo.); Position of 
person contacted: Director, Center for the Study and Prevention of 
Violence, Institute of Behavioral Science[B].

Universities: Harvard University (Boston, Mass.); Position of person 
contacted: Co-Director, National Violent 
Injury Statistics System.

Universities: University of Georgia (Athens, Ga.); Position of person 
contacted: Associate Professor, Department of 
Health Promotion and Behavior.

Universities: New York University School of Law (New York, N.Y.); 
Position of person contacted: Director, Center 
for Research in Crime and Justice.

Trade association: Toy Industry Association (New York, N.Y.); Position 
of person contacted: Counsel.

Source: GAO.

[A] Our contacts with universities were based on suggestions made by 
federal agency officials and the results of our literature search.

[B] This university official served as the senior scientific editor for 
the Surgeon General's 2001 report on youth violence.

[End of table]

Crime Statistics Involving Toy Guns:

To determine the availability of statistics regarding the prevalence of 
crimes that involved toy guns in some capacity, we contacted the 
following Department of Justice components:

Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). We followed-up on the results of 
our literature search, which identified a June 1990 report (Toy Guns: 
Involvement in Crime & Encounters with Police) prepared by the Police 
Executive Research Forum, under a cooperative agreement with BJS (see 
enc. II).

National Institute of Justice (NIJ). NIJ is the research, development, 
and evaluation agency of the Department of Justice.

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). We inquired whether the Uniform 
Crime Reporting Program collected any information involving toy gun 
incidents.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF). We inquired 
whether the agency's "Youth Crime Interdiction Initiative" collected 
any information involving toy gun incidents.

Toy Gun Incidents Resulting in Injuries or Deaths:

To determine the availability of information on incidents involving toy 
guns that have resulted in injuries or deaths, whether or not related 
to criminal activity, we contacted two federal agencies--the Consumer 
Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and the Department of Health and Human 
Services' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). These 
agencies collect data on health and safety issues in several databases.

At our request, CPSC officials reviewed the agency's three major 
surveillance databases that provide information on product-related 
hazards:

National Electronic Injury Surveillance System. This system collects 
information and provides national estimates on the number of victims 
treated in hospital emergency rooms for product-related injuries. From 
this database, CPSC officials reviewed cases from January 2000 to July 
2003.

Death Certificate System. This database contains records of death 
certificates for product-related deaths from each of the 50 states. 
CPSC officials reviewed cases reported during the previous 10 years 
(1993 through 2002).

Incident Data Base. This data file contains records of cases received 
from news clips, medical examiner reports, consumer complaints, and 
reports from other sources. CPSC officials reviewed cases reported 
during the previous 10 years (1993 through 2002).

Regarding these databases, CPSC officials noted that statistics on 
police shootings involving toy guns likely represent an undercounting 
of such incidents. The officials explained that CPSC would not 
generally collect data on police shootings because the agency's focus 
is on consumer product issues rather than firearms.

We contacted CDC to inquire whether its National Violent Death 
Reporting System (NVDRS) had relevant information. Officials at CDC's 
National Center for Injury 
Prevention and Control told us that the system was not yet operational 
but eventually would collect national information on all violent 
deaths, including firearms-related deaths and those involving toy guns.

The CDC officials referred us to Harvard University's National Violent 
Injury Statistics System (NVISS), which is a pilot program for CDC's 
NVDRS and encompasses 12 sites nationwide.[Footnote 6] The co-director 
of the pilot program told us that the NVISS database contains 
information for 2 years (2000 and 2001) but does not include a variable 
to facilitate an electronic search for injuries or deaths involving toy 
gun incidents. Nevertheless, the co-director responded to our questions 
based on her knowledge of the database and her review of data for 7 
sites for 2001.[Footnote 7]

Long-Term Impacts Attributed to Toy Gun Play by Children:

As previously indicated, to determine the availability of studies 
examining the long-term impacts that can be attributed to toy gun play 
by children, we conducted a literature search and contacted various 
federal agencies, university researchers or academicians, and a 
representative of the Toy Industry Association. We focused our analysis 
on the following potentially relevant study that we identified:

Watson, Malcolm W., and Ying Peng. Brandeis University. "The Relation 
Between Toy Gun Play and Children's Aggressive Behavior." Early 
Education and Development (Volume 3, Number 4, Oct. 1992): 370-389.

Two of our social scientists examined the study to assess the adequacy 
of samples and measures employed, the reasonableness and rigor of the 
statistical techniques used to analyze them, and the validity of the 
results and conclusions.

Also, we contacted the senior scientific editor of a 2001 report--Youth 
Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General--to discuss the extent, if 
any, that the study addressed or considered the long-term impacts 
attributable to toy gun play by children.[Footnote 8]

Enclosure II:

June 1990 Report on Toy Guns, Crime, and Police Encounters:

Public Law 100-615 (Nov. 5, 1988) required that toy guns have a "blaze 
orange plug inserted in the barrel" to minimize the probability of such 
guns being mistaken for real firearms. Also, the federal legislation 
required that the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics 
(BJS) conduct a study of the criminal misuse of toy guns, including 
studying police reports of such incidents. Effective June 1, 1989, BJS 
awarded a cooperative agreement to the Police Executive Research Forum 
(PERF) to conduct the study.[Footnote 9] In June 1990, PERF reported on 
the results of its study--Toy Guns: Involvement In Crime & Encounters 
With Police.

Regarding the overall significance of toy guns and crime, PERF reported 
that there is no clear answer to the question, "How serious is the 
problem?" The report noted that:

"The response is a value judgment based upon one's ideology and 
experiences.":

"In comparison to all crimes of violence and police-involved shootings 
throughout the United States, the proportion of cases involving 
imitation guns is small. The nagging element of the 'toy gun' problem 
is that many of the incidents seem particularly tragic--a child is 
involved, a mentally disturbed person does not recognize the gravity of 
his/her actions, or a person simply used poor judgment.":

In response to our inquiry, in June 2003, BJS officials told us that 
BJS had no current plans to sponsor or undertake a follow-up study to 
update the information.

Scope and Methodology of PERF's Study:

Initially, to ascertain issues and trends, PERF conducted a Lexis/Nexis 
computer search for news stories reporting any imitation gun incidents. 
PERF reported that its research methods also included developing and 
sending a survey instrument to 699 agencies in the study population--
that is, all municipal police and consolidated police departments 
serving populations of 50,000 or more, all sheriff's departments with 
100 or more sworn employees, and all primary state police 
agencies.[Footnote 10] According to PERF, the usable response rate was 
65.5 percent (458 responses). The PERF report does not include 
information on whether the nonrespondents differed in significant ways 
from the respondents. Without such information, it is not possible to 
determine if the lack of response from 34 percent of the agencies 
distorted the findings.

Enclosure II:

Questions in the survey instrument solicited information on (1) 
robberies and assaults that involved the use of imitation guns and (2) 
experiences of officers using deadly force and less than deadly force 
against individuals with imitation guns.[Footnote 11]

Data Limitations Acknowledged by PERF:

In its report, PERF acknowledged that quantitative data were difficult 
to obtain. Specifically, PERF reported that:

"The questions for this survey were extraordinarily difficult for the 
law enforcement agencies to answer simply because police departments 
typically do not maintain data stratified by the identifying character 
of 'toy gun' (or similar notation). As a result, most agencies resorted 
to some form of manual records check and/or solicitation of information 
from officers.":

"The data presented in this report were not easily generated by the 
responding departments. Many police agencies conducted manual searches 
of their incident reports, others physically searched property room 
records, while others went through the laborious process of surveying 
their officers and then developing responses to our questions. Thus, 
while the data in this report may not be as robust as we initially 
hoped, it represents the most comprehensive information available on 
the subject.":

Nonetheless, relying solely on officers' memories in some instances may 
have resulted in either an under-or over-reporting of incidents 
involving imitation guns.

Study Results Reported by PERF:

As mentioned previously, questions in PERF's survey instrument 
solicited information on (1) robberies and assaults that involved use 
of imitation guns and (2) experiences of officers using deadly force 
and less than deadly force against individuals with imitation guns.

Robberies and Assaults Using Toy Guns:

PERF's report presented data for 4-2/3 years--1985 through 8 months of 
1989--on the numbers of robberies and assaults involving toy guns. As 
table 2 shows, the reported number of robberies totaled 2,796 during 
this period.

Enclosure II:

Table 2: Number of Robberies and Assaults Committed Involving Toy Guns 
(Jan. 1, 1985 to Sep. 1, 1989):

: Number of robberies and assaults committed involving toy guns.

Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: 

Calendar year: 1985; Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: Robberies[A]: 453; Number of robberies and 
assaults committed involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 635.

Calendar year: 1986; Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: Robberies[A]: 482; Robberies[A]: Number of 
robberies and assaults committed involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 615.

Calendar year: 1987; Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: Robberies[A]: 665; Number of robberies and 
assaults committed involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 601.

Calendar year: 1988; Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: Robberies[A]: 753; Number of robberies and 
assaults committed involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 686.

Calendar year: 1989 (8 months); Number of robberies and assaults 
committed involving toy guns: Robberies[A]: 443; Number of robberies 
and assaults committed involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 567.

Total; Robberies[A]: 2,796; Number of robberies and assaults committed 
involving toy guns: Assaults[B]: 3,104.

Source: Police Executive Research Forum, Toy Guns: Involvement in Crime 
& Encounters with Police, June 1990, pp. 29 and 32.

[A] Based on 148 police agencies reporting robberies known to have been 
committed with a toy gun.

[B] Based on 121police agencies reporting assaults known to have been 
committed with a toy gun.

[End of table]

Based partly on these data, PERF reported that survey results "show 
that robberies by imitation guns are occurring on a daily basis in the 
United States ". Also, PERF reported that:

"Because of poor record keeping on imitation gun robberies, the fact 
that the estimates of investigators are experiential rather than 
empirical, and the inherent methodological differences between the UCR 
[Uniform Crime Reporting Program] and this study, the authors feel that 
estimating the number of imitation gun robberies from those reported in 
the UCR would have limited value.":

Also, table 2 shows that the reported number of assaults committed with 
toy guns totaled 3,104 during the period. PERF reported that:

"While it is conceivable that a person could be physically assailed 
with an imitation gun, the more likely crime is the 'simple assault' 
where a person is threatened and in fear of injury.  No meaningful 
comparisons can be made between these findings and the Uniform Crime 
Report assault data since the UCR statistics reflect only aggravated 
assaults.":

Use of Force Incidents Involving Toy Guns:

As part of PERF's survey, researchers also asked law enforcement 
agencies to report the number of incidents where officers had warned, 
threatened, or actually used force in a confrontation where an 
imitation gun had been mistaken for a real gun. As table 3 shows, for 
the period January 1, 1985, to September 1, 1989:

The number of incidents totaled 385 where an officer warned or 
threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real.

The number of incidents totaled 105 where an officer used actual force 
based on the belief that a toy gun was real.

Enclosure II:

Table 3: Number of Incidents Where Police Officers Warned of Using or 
Actually Used Force Based on the Belief That a Toy Gun Was Real (Jan. 
1, 1985 to Sep. 1, 1989):

Calendar year: 1985; Number of incidents where an officer warned or 
threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[A]: 55; Number of incidents where an officer used actual force 
(deadly or less than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[B]: 6.

Calendar year: 1986; Number of incidents where an officer warned or 
threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[A]: 61; Number of incidents where an officer used actual force 
(deadly or less than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[B]: 7.

Calendar year: 1987; Number of incidents where an officer warned or 
threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[A]: 72; Number of incidents where an officer used actual force 
(deadly or less than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[B]: 45.

Calendar year: 1988; Number of incidents where an officer warned or 
threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[A]: 106; Number of incidents where an officer used actual force 
(deadly or less than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was 
real[B]: 31.

Calendar year: 1989 (8 months); Number of incidents where an officer 
warned or threatened the use of force based on the belief that a toy 
gun was real[A]: 91; Number of incidents where an officer used actual 
force (deadly or less than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun 
was real[B]: 16.

Total; Number of incidents where an officer warned or threatened the 
use of force based on the belief that a toy gun was real[A]: 385; 
Number of incidents where an officer used actual force (deadly or less 
than deadly) based on the belief that a toy gun was real[B]: 105.

Source: Police Executive Research Forum, Toy Guns: Involvement in Crime 
& Encounters with Police, June 1990, pp. 34 and 35.

[A] Based on 82 agencies reporting incidents known to have been 
committed with a toy gun.

[B] Based on 31 agencies reporting incidents known to have been 
committed with a toy gun.

[End of table]

Regarding the 105 incidents involving actual use of force, PERF 
reported that " it is probable that the data are more accurate since 
internal investigations typically follow the use of force.":

(440210):

FOOTNOTES

[1] PERF is a national membership organization of police executives 
from the largest city, county, and state law enforcement agencies.

[2] The 12 sites consist of 6 states (Connecticut, Kentucky, Maine, 
Maryland, Wisconsin, and Utah); 5 metropolitan areas or counties--
Atlanta (Ga.), Detroit (Mich.), Miami-Dade County (Fla.), Allegany 
County (Pa.), and San Francisco (Cal.)--and 1 pilot (conducted by the 
University of Pennsylvania) collectively covering three metropolitan 
areas--Bethlehem (Pa.), Youngstown (Ohio), and Iowa City (Iowa). 

[3] American Academy of Pediatrics, "Injuries Related to 'Toy' 
Firearms" (RE7085), Pediatrics, Volume 79, Number 3 (Mar. 1987).

[4] Malcolm W. Watson and Ying Peng, Brandeis University, "The Relation 
Between Toy Gun Play and Children's Aggressive Behavior," Early 
Education and Development, Volume 3, Number 4 (Oct. 1992).

[5] Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health 
Service (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2001).

[6] The 12 NVISS sites consist of 6 states (Connecticut, Kentucky, 
Maine, Maryland, Wisconsin, and Utah); 5 metropolitan areas or 
counties--Atlanta (Ga.), Detroit (Mich.), Miami-Dade County (Fla.), 
Allegany County (Pa.), and San Francisco (Cal.)--and 1 pilot (conducted 
by the University of Pennsylvania) collectively covering three 
metropolitan areas--Bethlehem (Pa.), Youngstown (Ohio), and Iowa City 
(Iowa). 

[7] The co-director's review covered the following 7 sites: 
Connecticut, Maine, Wisconsin, Utah, San Francisco, Miami-Dade County, 
and Allegany County. 

[8] Youth Violence: A Report of the Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health 
Service (Washington, D.C.: Jan. 2001). The report is available on the 
Surgeon General's Web site at http://surgeongeneral.gov/library/
youthviolence/.

[9] PERF is a national membership organization of police executives 
from the largest city, county, and state law enforcement agencies. 
Incorporated in 1977, PERF's objectives are to improve policing and 
advance professionalism through research and involvement in public 
policy debate. 

[10] Also, according to PERF, site visits were made to 27 agencies, 
which were selected based partly on news reports and/or self-reports 
indicating experiences with imitation gun incidents.

[11] PERF reported results separately for three categories of imitation 
guns--toy guns (intended for playing), pneumatic guns (such as BB and 
pellet guns), and replica guns (inoperable reproductions of actual 
weapons). The data presented in tables 2 and 3 in this enclosure cover 
toy guns only.