Published April 28, 2016
A top Democratic senator Monday called for the Justice Department and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate a double-barreled handgun that can fold up to look like a smartphone.
Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. slammed the gun as "a disaster waiting to happen" and claimed the gun's manufacture could violate federal law by looking like an everyday item.
"Just like toys that too much look like handguns should not be sold, handguns that look too much like toys should not be sold," said Schumer.
The .380-caliber pistol, developed by Minnesota startup Ideal Conceal, has a list price of $395. The company's website explains that "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," the site's description continues.
Ideal Conceal CEO Kirk Kjellberg told the Associated Press 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, who has a concealed carry license, 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, who spoke out last year against a phone case that made a phone look like a gun, said the weapon posed a threat to law enforcement if it was allowed to be sold, because officers could find themselves in a situation where they wouldn't know if a suspect was pulling out a phone or a gun.
Echoing Schumer's concerns, the head of the National Association of Police Organizations told CNNMoney last week that "any kind of weapon that’s disguised, so that it’s not apparent that it’s a weapon, would be cause for concern."
There was no immediate comment from either the Justice Department or the ATF.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.