A Minnesota inventor has become the subject of controversy after designing a handgun that looks like a smartphone when it’s not in use.
The idea is to allow people to carry a gun that “easily blends in with today’s environment” and prevent children from feeling uneasy around strangers with guns.
“In today’s day and age, carrying a concealed pistol has become a necessity. But what if you didn’t have to conceal,” reads the website for Ideal Conceal, a .380-calibre double barrel handgun.
“Smartphones are everywhere, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today’s environment. In its locked position it will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight.”
In its locked position, the gun looks like an iPhone with a heavy-duty case – it even has a fake camera lens and a headphone jack. Once the safety is opened, a small handle pops out from the middle of the gun and it’s ready to fire.
In an interview with NBC-affiliate KARE11, the gun’s designer, Kirk Kjellberg, said he was inspired to create the weapon after he frightened a child when entering a restaurant with his gun strapped to his hip.
“I walked towards the restroom and a little child, a boy about seven, saw me and said, ‘Mommy, mommy, that guy’s gotta gun,’” Kjellberg said.
“The whole restaurant of course turns and stares at you and I thought, ‘There’s just gotta be something better to do than this.’”
Kjellberg added he has already had more than 4,000 inquires about the gun that carries a price tag of US$395.
And while the gun was allegedly designed with safety in mind, Ideal Conceal has garnered a lot of backlash on social media – some pointing out that a gun like this could make law enforcement suspicious of those carrying regular old smartphones.
You might remember last year, cellphone cases shaped like guns caused quite the stir.
In August, Manitoba RCMP were called to Grand Beach after someone reported a man who had what looked like a handgun tucked into the waistband of his shorts. The suspected weapon turned out to be a novelty iPhone case.
Law enforcement agencies across the U.S. even put out warnings about the cases on social media.
“Officers do not have the luxury of time when making split-second decisions, while interacting with the public,” New Jersey State police said of the cases.
“We strongly recommend that you do not use this product both for your own safety and the safety of law enforcement officers.”
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