A Minnesota startup is making headlines today for its novel solution to the age-old problem of "children being frightened by strangers with guns."
Behold, the double-barrel .380-calibre handgun by Ideal Conceal: a gun designed to look exactly like a smartphone, complete with fake camera lens and headphone jack.
"In today's day and age, carrying a concealed pistol has become a necessity," reads the company's website. "But what if you didn't have to conceal?"
"Smartphones are EVERYWHERE, so your new pistol will easily blend in with today's environment," the site further explains. "From soccer moms to professionals of every type, this gun allows you the option of not being a victim."
As the above image illustrates, the gun only looks like a phone when it's not in use. A small handle pops out when the pistol's safety is opened, making it ready to fire "with one click."
Technically, the gun is a folding derringer – a small, two-shot "pocket pistol" known for how easy it is to hide. While the folding aspect of the gun is relatively new, the derringer itself dates back to the late 19th century.
Ideal Conceal's pistol, which has the dimensions of a Samsung Galaxy S7, is currently priced at $395 US, but the company says it won't be available for purchase until mid-2016.
Posts on its Facebook page also indicate that products shown are 3D prototype models, and that mass production of the guns will begin this summer. In January, the company said that it would be showing off these prototypes at an upcoming NRA show in Lousiville, Ky.
The demand for guns that look like phones
The pistol's developer, Kirk Kjellberg, told NBC-affiliate KARE11 this week that he's already received about 4,000 inquiries from people looking to buy one of his guns.
He also told the news station about what inspired him to create Ideal Conceal's "defensive weapon."
Kjellberg, who holds a concealed carry permit in the state of Minnesota, said that he was walking through a restaurant with his regular, gun-shaped gun when a child became frightened.
"I walked towards the restroom and a little child, a boy about 7, saw me and said, 'Mommy, mommy, that guy's gotta gun,'" he told KARE11. "The whole restaurant of course turns and stares at you and I thought, 'There's just gotta be something better to do than this.'"
Americans, on the other hand, can legally carry concealed weapons in all 50 States – though laws regarding permits, licensing, registration and restrictions vary across the country.
In Minnesota, Where Kjellberg lives, it is legal to carry guns in restaurants. But carrying a gun disguised as something else? That part is making some people nervous.
"In general, the concept of any kind of weapon that's disguised, so that it's not apparent that it's a weapon, would be cause for concern," said Bill Johnson, executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Police Organizations, to CNN of Ideal Conceal's gun.
Critics on Facebook and Twitter are saying that the invention could pose security threats, or accidentally harm kids who think the gun is... well, not actually a gun.
"A phone gun. We've done it. We've finally combined America's two greatest vices" https://t.co/xtUVaYK1qG— @MarketWatch
"In America, we have lots of children in contact with pistols already," said Kjellberg in response to the criticism during an interview with NBC News on Tuesday. "There's been quite a few incidents long before my product came along.
"For me, it's not the gun. It's the people," he continued. "So if you have a pistol and you have children anywhere near you, it's your responsibility to lock that stuff up and keep it away from children."