A U.S. senator on Monday 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 the gun said concern over the two-shot weapon was misplaced.
Democratic Senator Charles Schumer of New York said the gun, being promoted online by a 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 calibre gun. The site lauds its "high velocity, increased accuracy," and the weapon has a list price of $395.
Ideal Conceal 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.
On Monday, 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.