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Minnesota Man Designs Handgun That Looks Like Cellphone

Kjellbert said the initial prototype will be out in June and the company already has 4,000 requests for it, including from law enforcement

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    A Minnesota company called Ideal Conceal is getting a lot of attention for its handgun that looks like a cell phone. (Published Tuesday, March 29, 2016)

    A Minnesota man developed a handgun that folds up to look like a cellphone, an idea that's getting a lot of attention on social media.

    Kirk Kjellberg, the gun's creator and CEO of Ideal Conceal, said he got the inspiration for a double-barreled .380-caliber pistol that looks exactly like a smartphone after a child saw that he was carrying a concealed firearm and he received unwelcome stares from restaurant patrons, he told NBC affiliate KARE. 

    He came up with a pistol that "will easily blend in with today’s environment," according to the description on the website. "In its locked position it will be virtually undetectable because it hides in plain sight."

    But "with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire," Ideal Conceal website claims.

    Kjellbert said the initial prototype will be out in June and the company already has 4,000 requests for it, including from law enforcement. He plans to sell the gun for $395. 

    A Facebook page Ideal Conceal already has more than 13,000 likes. But many who commented on KARE's Facebook page in response to the report were concerned about criminals using such a gun while others wondered if the product is even legal. 

    "Yes, let's make it even easier to get a gun into a mall, movie theater, school, office building, etc...." one user wrote. "This is one of the dumbest ideas I've seen. I don't have issues with guns, but this just has bad idea written all over it."

    Another user said, "How can this be allowed? How many will be killed by someone believing they saw a gun instead of a cell phone (sick)?"

    Someone else mentioned that the gun looked like any other that was concealed.

    Kjellbert assured in an interview with KARE that he didn't want "anything sinister."

    "It's just made for mainstream America, not criminal enterprise," he said. 

    He told NBC News the Department of Homeland Security has reached out to him about the pistol, and he plans on providing X-rays of it so law enforcement can distinguish it from cellphones during airport screenings.

    Ginger Colbrun, public affairs chief for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement the agency hasn't examined Kjellbert's handgun and that "domestic manufacturers are not required to submit firearms to our Firearms Technology and Ammunition Division."

    But she said the ATF does work with the firearms industry, and manufactures sometime submit prototypes to evaluate whether the firearm will fall under the National Firearms Act.

    "If a manufacturer is unsure of how a firearm may be classified ... then ATF recommends they send a sample for evaluation," she said.

    It's not clear if Kjellbert submitted his gun to ATF for examination. 

    Colbrun said the ATF has seen various firearms disguised as items such as knives, pens and walking canes, and that it has seen cell phone firearms in the past as well. 

    Last year, Chicago's City Council voted to outlaw the sale and possession of gun-shaped cellphone cases in Chicago and officials in New Jersey warned residents against purchasing a cellphone case shaped like a gun that was seen on social media.