Guns and phones that look like phones and guns

Back in 1976 on Saturday Night Live, Dan Aykroyd created the character of Irwin Mainway, president of Mainway Toys, a producer of ridiculously dangerous toys like “Bag o’ Glass,” “Johnny Switchblade” and “Teddy Chain Saw,” a teddy bear with a chain saw sticking out of its stomach.

It would seem Mr. Mainway has gotten out of the toy business and into gun and cell phone product design. This week, legislators are looking askance a couple of items that could only have come from the mind of Irwin Mainway.

One is a cell phone cover that looks like a pistol. It has a pistol grip so that when your phone is in your pocket it looks like you’re packing a gun. Imagine what will happen some day when a police officer sees someone suspicious reach for their pistol-shaped cell phone. State Rep. Joe Atkins, calling it “about the dumbest thing I have ever seen,” has introduced a bill to ban this product, making it a petty misdemeanor to manufacture, own or sell one. The Legislature should pass it quickly.

Another product is a pistol designed to look like a cell phone. It’s a .380 caliber, two-shot derringer with a handle that folds up to make it look like a smart phone. It’s made by a Minnesota company, Ideal Conceal, whose owner sees it as a defensive style weapon for people who want to exercise their right carry a weapon without drawing attention to themselves. It may also make people nervous when they see someone pull out their cell phone.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York is calling on the Department of Justice to investigate this product before it goes on sale later this fall. A good, hard look would be in order.