New York Sen. Charles Schumer said there needs to be a federal investigation before a gun that looks like a smartphone comes to market.
Schumer on Monday called on the Department of Justice and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to investigate Ideal Conceal, the company that has said it's planning to bring the gun to market.
Kirk Kjellberg, the Minnesota-based creator of the gun and the CEO of Ideal Conceal, has said he got the inspiration for a double-barreled .380-caliber pistol that looks like a phone after a child saw he was carrying a concealed firearm and he received unwelcome stares from restaurant patrons.
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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," Ideal Conceal's website claims. But "with one click of the safety it opens and is ready to fire."
Schumer said toys that look like guns shouldn't be sold. And he said guns that look like toys or everyday items shouldn't be sold either.
He said the gun may violate federal law that doesn't allow guns to look like common items.
Ginger Colbrun, public affairs chief for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said in a statement on March 29 the agency hadn'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 has submitted his gun to the 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.
The ATF had no comment Monday to the AP on Schumer's comments. Emails to the Justice Department and to Ideal Conceal were not answered.
Kjellbert has told NBC affiliate KARE that the gun is "made for mainstream America, not criminal enterprise."
He told NBC News the Department of Homeland Security has reached out to him about the pistol, and he planned on providing X-rays of it so law enforcement can distinguish it from cellphones during airport screenings.