Photo: U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on Customs and Border Patrol to halt shipments of the iPhone gun grip case. Courtesy of aliexpress.com
While many have speculated the health risks of cellular phones since they hit the mainstream market decades ago, the senior New York senator this week warned against the potential danger that comes with a popular new phone accessory.
U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Tuesday publicly urged online retailers, including Amazon and eBay, to immediately stop selling iPhone cases made to look like a real 9mm handgun. Schumer also cited a federal law that he said is likely being broken by the makers of the new iPhone gun grip case—the same law he is urging Customs and Border Protection to highlight as part of a push to halt the import of the gun grip cases “that are making their way to the pockets of young people.”
Federal law 15 USC 5001 requires “each toy, look-alike, or imitation firearm [to] have as an integral part, permanently affixed, a blaze orange plug inserted in the barrel of such toy, look-alike or imitation firearm.” Schumer said that because the gun grip case is a look-alike firearm, it must include an orange plug in the barrel.
The fake gun phone case features the grip of an actual gun and trigger guard, Schumer noted, and can be found online for anywhere from $5 to $49. He also pointed to warnings by the city Police Department when describing the possible dangers of the new case, which is advertised to complement a person’s front or back pocket, and can be brandished to look like a real weapon.
Schumer, who sent letters to the CEOs of Amazon, eBay, and CBP Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske, said not only do these cases likely violate federal law, they can also result in dangerous consequences if a law enforcement agent or other individual mistakes the case for a real gun and fires a weapon in defense. He later characterized the product as “a disaster waiting to happen,” and called on federal officials to crack down on it to avert potential catastrophes.
“Any retailer willing to sell this potentially dangerous and tasteless handgun iPhone case is making a very bad call and putting lives at risk,” Schumer said. “We should be doing everything in our power to end the rash of gun violence across the country, however, this product simply promotes it. Moreover, this iPhone gun case can result in tragedy if mistaken for a real gun. I hope that Amazon and eBay take urgent action and remove all gun grip phone case products from their sites.”
By Michael V. Cusenza