2 lawmakers want gun-shaped phone cases banned in Minnesota

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Two Minnesota lawmakers say they want cellphone cases shaped like guns to be banned in Minnesota.

State reps. Joe Atkins, DFL-Inver Grove Heights, and Dan Schoen, DFL-South St. Paul, said at a press conference Friday they will introduce legislation next March to ban gun-shaped phone cases in Minnesota, calling them "incredibly dangerous."

The products got national attention last week, when a prosecutor's office in New Jersey posted images of one of them on Facebook. The St. Paul Police Department told BringMeTheNews officers were "aware of them," but said there haven't been any occasions where it led to confusion or other issues for their officers.

But the representatives don't want to take any chances, and think it's only a matter of time before it leads to tragedy.

"These cases aren’t just stupid, they’re incredibly dangerous," Rep. Atkins said in a press release. "These gun shaped cell phone cases are being marketed as toys to young adults, but they’re not toys, they pose a serious risk to the person carrying them and the public in general. This legislation will make Minnesotans safer."

The bill the pair will introduce would ban the manufacture, sale and possession of a gun-shaped cellphone case in Minnesota, and until their proposal has a chance to be heard they have said they will lobby firms to stop manufacturing or selling them in the state.

They’re easy to get a hold of, usually priced at about $10 or less and available on popular sites such as eBay and Amazon.

Rep. Schoen is himself a police officer in Cottage Grove, and he said removing the items will make life a lot easier for law enforcement officers and safer for the public.

"As a police officer, I can tell you first hand that there is a real potential for something horrible to result from people carrying these cases around in public," he said.

"Cops shouldn't have to worry about a phone case that looks like a gun. If someone takes one out in public and expects that law enforcement to always recognize the difference between a real gun and something fake in a tense situation, then they’re going to be in trouble."

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