By Kate Sims
Ideal Conceal, a firearms company in Missouri, just released their new gun in the shape of a cell phone. Take a moment to let that set in… What a terrible idea! Before I delve into why, I’d like to acknowledge that there was a brief moment when I thought the idea might be a good one. I thought of incognito self-defense. As a woman, I can have a device to defend myself with that can be accessed as easily as a cell phone and a bit more powerful than mace. Seconds later, that same thought scared me. The thought of protecting myself dimmed in comparison to the harm this weapon would cause.
Guns already have terrible reputations because of the carelessness of their handlers. There were 14,675 unintentional shooting accidents in the year 2011, as reported by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. These unintentional accidents are anything from a misfire at a shooting range to a couple of teenagers who “didn’t know it was loaded.”
Let’s add to the confusion: a device that combines an everyday object and a powerful weapon. “It’s ideal defense for restaurant owners,” said Kirk Kjellberg, the head of the project to create the smartphone gun. “It’s for people who want to carry concealed weapons and not have to explain why they have one if someone were to ask.” I honestly have never had to ask nor been asked about why someone is carrying a gun. Plus, the idea of a concealed weapon is that no one sees it, so why would anyone ask? This discomfort that Kjellberg is trying to ease, doesn’t seem to be a valid concern. On first glance, it is wonderful to enable the defenseless with a tool their offender may mistake as a harmless phone. Or… It’s a perfect way for a criminals to harm unarmed citizens.
“Research by Wright and Rossi in the 1980’s found that criminals prefer guns that are easily concealed,” says a passage in the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This gun smartphone has two barrels, both of which can hold a .380 caliber bullet, and will be sold for an estimated $400, according to Bloomberg Technology.
Muggings and robberies aren’t the only bad situation that I can foresee with this item. First, can you imagine security issues, how do you explain having a phone shaped gun to TSA? And with that kind of intense alert, many flights might be missed due to misinterpreting a real phone for the camouflaged firearm. Imagine the chaos airports would become, or even how terrifying movie theaters would be.
This phone-shaped gun would only create problems. Furthermore, what if someone were to pick up one of these disguised weapons? Accidental injury or even death seems inevitable. Kjellberg stated that there were already 4,000 requests for the smartphone gun; that could be 4,000 purses where a teen or small child is looking for mom’s cell phone. Let’s face it, children are naïve and curious. Teens are complacent. And adults are not perfect. The smartphone gun has accident-prone written all over it.
It may have been for the benefit of “mainstream America, [and] not criminal enterprise,” but this item appears to be more of an enabler for natural selection with no real necessity. This isn’t the iPhone 8 or a sunglasses trend. Sorry Mr. Kjellberg, mainstream America is distracted enough. Keep this idea to yourself.