By Josiah Clark
Police nationwide are very worried about phone cases that look like handguns, which could affect the safety and wellbeing of those who choose to carry one.
At first glance, these phone cases give the realistic appearance of a handgun and can be obtained cheaply online and through street vendors.
Retailers such as Glamzelle list the phone cases online for $30. They are available in three colors, and are compatible with the iPhone 5 & 6.
According to the product description from Glamzelle, “the hand gun iPhone case transforms your phone into a hand gun.”
They also work with a downloadable app to produce “gunshot noises that come from the speaker when you pull the trigger on the gun.”
Chief Tony Jones of the Blowing Rock Police Department called it a “very bad idea.”
“I have been a law enforcement officer for more than 26 years, and have been around firearms my entire life. If I saw this, I would believe it was a real handgun and act accordingly,” he said. “This will get someone killed. Do not purchase this product.”
The phone cases could create deadly situations, and not only threaten police officers to act, but armed civilians as well.
Although the cases are available in pink and white, the black cases might be especially hard to distinguish from an actual handgun in lowlight or nighttime situations.
Last November, a 12-year-old boy from Cleveland named Tamir Rice was shot dead by police officers after someone reported that he had pulled a firearm out of his pants. The gun turned out to be a plastic toy.
Although these gun-shaped phone cases have yet to cause an incident, retailers and consumers are being urged to stay away.
This month, U.S. Senator Charles Schumer of New York urged online retailers to stop selling the phone cases, and told CBS New York the gun-shaped case is a “disaster waiting to happen.”
Following national backlash, retail giant Amazon.com pulled the products from their online store.
Chief Jones is very worried that even if the person is innocent, a law enforcement officer could see the handle sticking from their back pocket or bag and “act upon that.”
“It is a tragic accident just waiting to happen. I hope this is just a passing thing that fades away,” said Chief Jones.
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