Nation & World

NRA promotes Ideal Conceal gun that looks like a phone. Parkland survivor isn't buying it

The NRA is promoting the Ideal Conceal gun, which fits in a pocket and looks like a smartphone. That's what worries Parkland survivor Jaclyn Corin, who slammed the NRA as it meets this week in Dallas.
The NRA is promoting the Ideal Conceal gun, which fits in a pocket and looks like a smartphone. That's what worries Parkland survivor Jaclyn Corin, who slammed the NRA as it meets this week in Dallas. Twitter/Timothy Johnson

From the time its creator sketched it on a napkin, the Ideal Conceal handgun has had a complicated birth. It's small enough to tuck into a pocket and folds up to look like a cellphone.

Critics slammed the idea because police have shot people holding cellphones and toy guns they mistook for real guns.

With the gun almost ready to be shipped to retailers, the derringer-style pistol will be a "featured product" this week at the annual National Rifle Association meeting in Dallas.

"The Cellphone Pistol offers a great option for self-defense along with max concealment. The shape will not print as a pistol, yet can be drawn and fired quickly," says a description on the NRA's website.

The gun has drawn fresh criticism from Jaclyn Corin, one of the teenage survivors of the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Corin has been one of the student leaders calling for new gun control laws.

After organizing the March For Our Lives in Washington, D.C. Saturday, The students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School are ready to tackle what's next in the gun debate. "We're students... This is our test now, and we definitely studied,"

"Even more people will be targeted by law enforcement b/c they 'look' like they’re carrying a weapon, especially POC," Corin tweeted on Tuesday.

Corin appeared to reference the death of Stephon Clark, a black man shot and killed in March by Sacramento police who say they thought he had a gun. Clark was later found to be holding a cellphone.

She blamed the NRA for “enforcing the normality of shooting other people" and retweeted Timothy Johnson, a research fellow for the liberal Media Matters for America, who pondered, “What could go wrong?”

More than 80,000 people are expected at the NRA convention for what the group says will be its biggest annual meeting in its history. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are expected to attend on Friday.

Convention attendees will be allowed to carry their firearms except during the forum where Trump and Pence speak.

More than 800 exhibitors will be on hand, including Ideal Conceal in Booth 3204.

The company's double-barrel .380-caliber gun first made headlines two years ago. According to Ideal Conceal's Facebook page, it will be ready to ship to retailers this summer. The company reportedly has 1,000 pre-orders.

"Many of you may have heard about the cellphone shaped pistol that drew lots of positive and negative buzz roughly 2 years ago when it was announced," Firearms Blog reviewer Adam Scepaniak recently wrote.

"From theory to development to further development, the Ideal Conceal IC380 has been on a long road to being crafted into what Kirk Kjellberg, founder and CEO, had originally envisioned on a napkin.

"He has had advocates, haters, and doubters over the years, but he did what many of us only dream about. He dreamed up a firearm from a napkin idea in his head, and he MADE it."

Scepaniak, who manages one of his family's gun stores in central Minnesota, where Ideal Conceal is headquartered, reviewed one of only two of the pistols currently in existence. He found it to be "definitely small and convenient to carry."

"A simple side-by-side comparison to the Droid phone I own and the Ideal Conceal has a smaller blueprint. It is barely wider or thicker than a cellphone, but at 3/4″ it is a lot smaller than many competitors like a Glock 42."

He showed the gun to two people at the firing range where he tested it, and "they were pretty excited by the fact at how convenient it would be to carry this and the fact that you could do it openly without judging eyes."

Word on the street, he wrote, is that "a 9 mm version may be coming."

When news of the gun first came out two years ago, Bill Johnson, executive director and general counsel for the National Association of Police Organizations, said the gun's design could be problematic for law enforcement officers.

"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," Johnson said.

According to Newsweek, this isn't the first time Corin has targeted the NRA. In March, the group tweeted that gun activists not only want to strip people of their Second Amendment rights, "but they also diminish people's life experiences in a way that is unbecoming."

"Gun control activists diminishing people's life experiences...? What about the 17 lives that were cut short by an AR-15?" Corin responded.