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U.S. senator calls for investigation into gun that resembles iPhone

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Standing beside photographs of a new product, U.S. Sen Charles Schumer, (D-New York), shown holding an iPhone 5S, voiced his opposition to a handgun that appears to be a cell phone during a news conference in his office, today, in New York. According to the website of Ideal Conceal, the company has developed a double-barreled, .380 caliber handgun that can serve as a concealed weapon. The gun lists for $395.

NEW YORK » U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer today called on the federal Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate before a gun that looks like an iPhone comes to market, but the head of the company making it said concern over the two-shot weapon was misplaced.

The New York Democrat said the gun, being promoted online by a Minnesota company calling itself Ideal Conceal, “is just a disaster waiting to happen.”

On its website and Facebook page, Ideal Conceal has images that show something that looks like a phone in its case. But it can open into a .380 caliber gun. The site lauds its “high velocity, increased accuracy,” and the weapon has a list price of $395.

CEO Kirk Kjellberg said the gun would likely be ready for sale later in the year. He pushed back against the outrage, pointing out that there are already small, easily concealed guns with more firepower than two shots on the market, as well as a wide range of holsters for practically every part of the body.

“The idea that this is going to cause some new big threat is just not true,” he said, calling it a defensive weapon only. Kjellberg has a concealed carry license. He said he came up with the idea for the gun after a young child in a restaurant caught a glimpse of his weapon and pointed it out.

Schumer said a gun looking like an everyday item could violate federal law, which was why he was asking the Justice Department and the ATF to investigate.

He said it posed a threat to law enforcement if it was allowed to be sold, because they could find themselves in a situation where they wouldn’t know if a suspect was pulling out a phone or a gun.

Schumer spoke out last year against a phone case that made a phone look like a gun.

Today, he said, “Just like toys that too much look like handguns should not be sold, handguns that look too much like toys should not be sold.”

ATF had no comment, and the Department of Justice did not respond to an email seeking comment.

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  • “He said it posed a threat to law enforcement if it was allowed to be sold, because they could find themselves in a situation where they wouldn’t know if a suspect was pulling out a phone or a gun.”

    exactly.

  • Obviously Senator Schumer hasn’t kept up with current events. Police can justifiably shoot you if you make any sudden or deliberate movement once they’ve told you to freeze or cease resisting. Lots of unarmed folks have been shot reaching for cell phones. Maybe in an ideal world that shouldn’t be so, but we’re living in the world we are.

    • That, unfortunately is a byproduct of having a country awash in firearms. Cops never know if you’re packing or not. You’re more likely to be shot by a cop now more than ever.

      I understand from the cop’s point of view, but it’s still not acceptable.

      • Best solution, theoretically, is to rid the world of all firearms. But since the gun lobby is too strong to just send away, we can try to slow down the murder stats by limiting gun sales.

        • The “gun lobby” is ultimately composed of mostly law abiding people – your friends, relatives and your neighbors. Most of their individual criminal histories would likely compare favorably with people who feel as you do. In Hawaii, as in most U.S. locales, you pretty much need a squeaky clean criminal record to legally own a gun. No druggies, spouse abusers or miscellaneous felons need apply.

  • Forget about the police. Vitamins and medicines now actually resemble candy (Gummies). Now guns resemble mom’s and dad’s cell phones. Kids like to play with mommy and daddy’s cell phone. A lot more kids will be hurt or killed with this device.

    • One would hope that purchasers of this weapon would secure it like any other firearm when not on their persons. And before people start wringing their hands and shaking their heads, think for a moment: if it needs to be unfolded in order to fire, then it’s arguably safer around children than any other legally sold 2-shot concealable handgun I’m currently aware of. Operationally, it’s really just a slower-to-deploy 2-shot derringer (or deringer).

      • “One would hope that purchasers of this weapon would secure it like any other firearm when not on their persons.”

        I’m not sure whether to admire your optimism or be shocked at the naivete.

        Maybe I just have no faith in my fellow humans after seeing hordes of irresponsible trash?

        • In the end it’s an inanimate object. Whether it saves a life or not is up to the user. Whether it’s involved in a tragic accident or not is up to the user. The point many readers ignore or simply have a negative knee-jerk reaction to, is that this product is in no way more dangerous than any other firearm – and indeed, it’s probably less dangerous than many. The risk of being shot down by a police officer does not increase because you have a gun that can look like a cell phone. What you do after being told to stop and surrender does.

        • Yes, guns and knives are inanimate objects. Bigger YES, if those inanimate objects are lying near drunk, emotional, or insane people, there’s a much higher chance of people dying. Yes, people + guns kill.

      • You are absolutely right, hopefully all weapons owners secure their firearms. The hundreds of accidental child shootings annually would certainly decrease if that were the case.

        • The danger of this gun is that it is concealed, it’s like hiding your weapon in plain sight. Someone could also conceivably get this into a secured area by pretending it was a cell phone and placing it in the basket with their keys before they walk through a metal detector.
          I can also see how it would be extremely dangerous for people who have children as well. Like an accident waiting to happen.

        • You don’t need to mask or reconfigure a firearm to get by your average low paid, poorly educated or poorly trained, bored or overworked TSA-type employee. As was recently proven, about 90% of fake bombs and fake conventional guns got through typical line TSA workers. “You gets what you pays for.”

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