Imagine this scenario. You're walking down a street late at night and some hoodlum approaches, thrusts a gun in your ribs, and demands you hand over your wallet and your phone. You take out your wallet and hand it to the mugger. Then you take out your phone and shoot him in the face.
It's hard to picture just yet, but one Minnesota company is trying to turn the smartphone into a weapon of self-defense. Or, rather, to use the guise of a cellphone, a ubiquitous accessory in American life, as the ultimate concealment of a deadly weapon in the owner's purse or pocket.
Ideal Conceal has solved a problem people didn't even know they had, designing the first-ever gun that looks exactly like a smartphone. The make is a double-barrel derringer, and its website advertises the light, disguised pistol as giving everyone from "soccer moms to professionals of every type...the option of not being a victim.
Kirk Kjellberg told CNN he got the idea for the phone-gun after walking through a restaurant while packin'. Some alert little boy noticed this.
"Mommy, mommy, that man's got a gun," the little boy said, according to Kjellberg. This bothered Kjellberg, who now felt like the whole restaurant suspected he might be a threat.
(For the record: We're team little boy in this story.)
The gun is a new innovation in firearms, as it goes beyond having a nontraditional shape, and actually has the trappings of a phone.
No one knows you're carrying a gun until it's too late for them. Cool, right? Not for cops. Bill Johnson, executive director of the National Association for Police Organizations, said the idea of a weapon so completely disguised is "cause for concern."
Too late! The Ideal Conceal is flying off the shelves, with 2,500 already booked for pre-sale, at the price of around $400.
Now, imagine another scenario. You're in a tense situation with police. Say they're interviewing or arresting a friend or loved one, and it's getting weird. You want to film what's going on. How do you convince them the phone you're reaching for is a not a gun, if some guns look like phones?
In fact, Ideal Conceal has tried to address this dilemma in a recent post on its Facebook page. This is how it did that:
"If you want to scratch your nose or your balls, ASK PERMISSION. If you want to film an officer: 'EXCUSE ME WHILE I WHIP THIS OUT' doesn't cut it with me. Tell them in a reasonable tone you are going to SLOWLY get your phone so you can record, IF THEY SAY NO, THEN ITS [sic]NO."
Huh. That sounds a little dicey. But Kjellberg trusts cops to always make the right decision.
Maybe people should have to ask cops for permission before they make a new gun.