Police are worried about your cell phone gun

"Freeze! Let me take this selfie."

"Freeze! Let me take this selfie."

The government is trying to take your guns. Just not the ones that kill people. (Or do people kill people?)

Either way, lawmakers and police are all worked up about cellphone cases that look like pistols. Although they're only used for (phone) protection, cops warn that some of these plastic pieces are lifelike enough that an officer could mistake it for the real thing.

U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) is calling for a ban on the phone-revolvers and Minnesota DFL representatives Joe Atkins and Dan Schoen have proposed a similar move.

But the real question is why. Why would someone want to clutch a pistol-grip handle while playing Angry Birds or snapping selfies?

“In the case world, think about all the branded and logo stuff, like Mickey Mouse on a case,” says Kyle Opdahl, co-owner of cellphone repair and accessory shop chain CPR Midwest. “People want to have it relate to their personality.”

Opdahl, who oversees CPR franchises in Minnesota, the Dakotas, and western Wisconsin, says he hasn't heard of any of the stores stocking them. Although they're readily found online, a handful of local phone shops we called didn't even know they were a thing.


“In my nine years working here I've never seen that,” says Erika Ecklund, who manages a T-Mobile store in West St. Paul.

Gun-shaped iPhone holsters were news to Opdahl too, though he's come across cases resembling brass knuckles in the past. While the bulk of his business is repairs, he points to a “whole market online” of bizarre accessories. The gimmicky, mock-weapon cases are typically geared toward the under-25 crowd, he says.

“Ultimately, kids want attention,” Opdahl says. “If they're holding something like that, they're probably going to get the attention.”

Apparently, Mickey doesn't cut it anymore.

Send news tips to Michael Rietmulder.