Phone cases resembling guns on verge of ban

Minnesota senators voted unanimously Wednesday to ban cellphone cases that resemble handguns.

The bill would prohibit the manufacture, sale or possession of phone cases in the state that look like a pistol or another firearm.

Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the cases are dangerous because they could too easily be mistaken for a real weapon.

"Now frankly this is a good start," the former county sheriff said. "Those of you that have kids or grandkids know that we have squirt guns. We have lookalike guns that we buy for the enjoyment of our own kids that if you put them side-by-side with a service weapon of one of the officers out on the street you can't really tell the difference. We should have been paying attention to this long ago."

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The 60-0 vote came on a bill that's the same as one awaiting a final vote in the Minnesota House.

Sen. Torrey Westrom, R-Elbow Lake, expressed some hesitation, saying there could be tough calls in determining what's illegal.

"This seems to be a slippery slope of enforcement of how we're going to start deciding how something looks 'similar to a gun' or not," Westrom said.

Sen. Ron Latz, DFL-St. Louis Park, held up a picture of a case that he said was a "dead ringer" for a pistol.

"Someone raises it to answer the phone and it looks like they're raising a gun," Latz said.