Look Closely: Can You Tell These Cellphones Are Actually Weapons in Disguise?

(Photo: A Military Guide to Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century via Wikimedia)

As a San Diego police officer recently showed us, law enforcement is well aware of weapons that can be disguised to look like cellphones — but are you?

A video of the police officer was taken because a person receiving a citation was fighting for his right to film law enforcement. But the officer asked him for the phone saying they can be “converted into weapons.” The officer later explained more specifically that they can be “converted into firearms and Tasers.”

“Look it up online,” he challenged.

That’s just what we did. What we found was not so much conversions of cellphones into weapons but more weapons being disguised as cellphones.

Snopes, the Web resource that seeks to debunk misinformation, confirms that guns disguised as cellphones are a real threat. It reported spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms John D’Angelo saying disguising a firearms as something else is not a new idea.

“We’ve seen guns in the form of canes, pens, beepers,” D’Angelo said. “As technology progresses and becomes more prevalent, disguised weapons will change to mirror that.”

In our previous article regarding the San Diego cop’s comments, we included this video as an example:

Here’s a video showing a “beeper gun”:

The Daily Telegraph in 2008 reported Italian police finding a similarly concealed gun while raiding a group related to the mafia.

“This is the first time such a weapon has been seized and shows the sophistication that the crime syndicates are turning to,” a spokesperson for the police was reported saying at the time.

Stun guns seem to be far more prevalent in Internet searches than actual firearms.

Toronto’s major crime unit, Canada’s Boarder Services Agency and TPS guns and gangs unit display a seized stun gun that look like a cellphone along with many other weapons and guns in Toronto on Wednesday, Nov. 16, 2011.  (Photo: AP/The Canadian Press, Nathan Denette)

Here’s the Guard Dog Cell Phone Stun Gun, a device that can deliver 2.7 million volts for about $45.

(Photo via Amazon)

The MTW-095 “cellphone-shaped supervoltage” stun gun retails for about $17 but it only delivers 1.6 million volts.

The Home Security Superstore has 10 different stun guns that look like cellphones. There’s even the 3.8 million volt iStun, shaped to look like a iPhone.

iStun (Photo via Home Security Superstore)

Check out this video about the Guard Dog iStun:

In the fall of 2012, stun guns disguised as cellphones were found by screeners at the Newark airport in New Jersey and Washington, D.C.’s, Reagan National Airport.

Given the prevalence of weapons being disguised as cellphones, the San Diego police officer’s request to review the gun, which was refused by its owner leading to his arrest, seems to have some merit. But what we don’t know is if he was expressing genuine concern or using the idea as an excuse to be a bully.