Illinois could become 1st state to ban gun-shaped cell phone cases

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CHICAGO -- Banned last year by City Council, phone cases that look like handguns are still allowed outside the city limits. But Illinois is not stopping there. One legislator is taking a crack at becoming the first state in the U.S. to ban them.

They really do look like the real thing. And in a town where gun violence is no joke, a gag like this could deliver a deadly punch line.

According to the Chicago Tribune, this year alone has seen over 650 shootings in Illinois.  Last year: nearly 3,000, a virtual bloodbath making national headlines on a regular basis. On Tuesday Cook County held its second public hearing on gun violence. Commissioner Richard Boykin believes Illinois should be in a state of emergency because of it.

The phone cases come in bright colors for fun. They come in black or silver too -- for authenticity. In the back pocket of a perfect stranger it could leave anybody guessing: someone feeling threatened by the cell masked as a weapon, or even an unsuspecting police officer in the heat of the moment who is forced to react.

Some online sellers like Amazon are no longer selling the cell phone cases modeled after handguns. But in the secondary market, on sites like eBay, you can buy one for well under $10.

The NRA, a powerful force on any and all gun issues, tells WGN this: "Ee have no position on the issue. We do not represent people in the cell phone industry."

And neither does the Fraternal Order of Police, but the FOP has plenty to say about it. When the city of Chicago passed its ban last summer, the FOP was there, to help bring home their point. They asked, with these pictures: is it real? Or is it fake?

Recent conceal carry laws in Chicago add to the complex equation.

Back in 2002 Senator Ira Silverstein passed a law that says firearms could not be in the shape of a wireless telephone. He said at the time they were shipping from Europe.

If lawmakers get back to business in April, he hopes to get this one passed too.