ALBANY, N.Y.  (CBSNewYork/AP) — New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman wants retailers to stop selling toy guns that are nearly indistinguishable from real firearms.

Schneiderman’s office announced Thursday that letters were sent to Walmart, Amazon, Kmart and Sears telling them to follow a state law intended to ensure that toy guns aren’t mistaken for the real thing.

The law says toy guns cannot be sold in realistic colors unless they bear an orange stripe on the barrel.

Schneiderman’s office conducted an investigation that found many retailers selling prohibited toy guns online and shipping them into the state, CBS2’s Hazel Sanchez reported.

The toys were sold online, and in one case, at a Rochester-area Kmart, according to Schneiderman’s office.

“When toy guns are mistaken for real guns, there can be tragic consequences,” Schneiderman said.

Schneiderman’s office sent cease-and-desist letters to Kmart, Sears Walmart, Amazon, FunToyMall.com and ToyArsenal.com demanding they immediately stop the in-store and online sale of the illegal toy guns to New Yorkers, Sanchez reported.

A Walmart spokesman said the company will work with Schneiderman to ensure compliance.

The move comes after a 12-year-old Ohio boy with a pellet gun was fatally shot by police.

“The risk of tragedy is simply too great when children play with toys that appear to be real firearms,” Schneiderman said.

Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD officer and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the retailers’ role is critical.

“This isn’t just a police issue,” he said. “We’ve got pistol permit holders, off-duty federal agents, all kinds of people in the city who could see a toy weapon and misconstrue it and have tragic results.”

According to the attorney general, four people have been killed in New York state and one child seriously injured when law enforcement officers mistook toy guns for real guns, Sanchez reported.

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