Following in the footsteps of states like Iowa and Minnesota, Chicago is the latest city to urge its community to ban the use of cell phone cases shaped like guns.
Aldermen Edward Burke (14th), Ariel Reboyras (30th) and Willie Cochran (20th) are warning that gun-shaped cell phone cases pose a major threat to public safety as they can easily be mistaken as real weapons, reports the Chicago Sun –Times..
When placed in a back pocket, the cell phone, which is placed where the barrel of the gun would be, is concealed and the handle of the “gun” is displayed.
The items were previously sold via online brands such as Raytop and L-luck, but have since been removed from Amazon.
In a news release issued Monday, Burke said, “Whether this case is sticking out of your pocket, or being held in your hand, it could be confused by law enforcement officials as a firearm.”
Referring to the cases as “a threat to public safety” and said they would “almost certainly lead to a tragic event.”
Of the ban, co-sponsor Cochran said, “Carrying a cell phone case that simulates the appearance of a gun is asking for nothing but trouble.”
According to NBC Chicago, the new ordinance would outlaw gun replica cell phone cases as well as other products shaped like guns, including cigarette lighters or cameras. If the measure passes, violators would face fines of up to $750 for each offense.
The three Chicago aldermen are scheduled to present the proposal in front of the finance committee on July 27.
Dean Angelo, Chicago Police Department union leader and president of the Fraternal Order of Police, was quick to support the proposed ban.
“I don’t see these novelties being anything but dangerous,” Angelo said. “The only thing you see when someone is carrying this in their waistband is what seems to be a weapon, which is going to put an officer on a heightened level of self-protection.”
“If I were on the street and approached an individual with one of these in their waistband or pocket, my weapon would be out,” he added. “I would not take the chance that this is not a real gun.”
In a time of increased tensions caused by increased gun violence and mass shootings, the question of guns has become a national issue.
Beginning in June, states across the country have started to enact legislation to combat the use, sale, and manufacture of the gun-replica cases.
Already, NYPD and New Jersey State Police have warned against the purchase of the replica cases. One New York lawmaker, Joe Atkins called the sale of the gun-replica cases “a disaster waiting to happen.”