This toy ray gun was made in Taiwan in the late 1970s or early 1980s. It is an example of a popular style of the electronic ray gun toys from that period which had flashing lights and made different sound effects.
Fictional space heroes often carried space-themed versions of the Western's ever-present six-shooter or rifle. As a result, for several generations, pretend gun play with ray gun toys formed a central part of many children's imagined space adventures. Exactly how one blasted space enemies often reflected the newest technologies. In the late 1940s, "atomic" guns proliferated. "Laser" guns followed the creation of the practical laser in 1960.
Collector Michael O'Harro donated this toy ray gun to the Smithsonian in 1993.