Tuesday, August 11, 2015 09:08 AM
CHICAGO – State Senator Ira Silverstein (D-Chicago) introduced a measure in the Senate last week to ban replica firearms in response to the latest trend of mobile phone cases shaped like handguns.
“Gun violence in our country is out of control and accidental shootings take and destroy lives,” Silverstein said. “The development of mobile phone cases – as well as lighters and cameras – shaped like handguns is a dangerous, terrible idea. It is only a matter of time before a replica gun is mistaken for a real gun and its owner is shot.”
Law enforcement officials are warning these items look authentic and may result in the shooting of someone carrying a gun-shaped phone case.
When kept in a pocket with the grip of the case visible, it is impossible to tell it apart from a working handgun.
The so-called “trigger cases” are available for purchase in several colors, and black looks almost identical to a handgun. Senate Bill 2166 would make it illegal to possess, sell, buy, conceal or otherwise use a replica firearm, defined as any object that can be reasonably perceived as a firearm. The only exceptions are items such as paint pellet guns or a replica firearm with a blaze orange plug in the barrel.
Violation of this proposed change to the state’s criminal code would be a Class B misdemeanor, with each purchase, sale, use or transfer a separate and distinct offense. Senate Bill 2166 would become effective immediately upon being signed by the governor.
Last week the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance banning the trigger case for mobile phones.
The measure awaits action in the Senate Assignments Committee.