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Cell Phone Guns
Netlore Archive:  According to this email flier and attached video, law enforcement officials have discovered .22 caliber guns disguised as cell phones being smuggled into western Europe from Croatia

Description:  Email flier
Status:  True
Circulating since:  Dec. 2000
Analysis:  See below

Email example contributed by G. Tatum, 21 Jan. 2001:

Fwd: .22 cal Cellphones!!

Deadly Decoys
Cell Phone Guns Discovered

Hitting the 5, 6, 7 and 8 buttons on the phone gun fires four .22-caliber rounds in quick succession. (US Customs Service)

By Lucrezia Cuen

L O N D O N, Dec. 6 At first sight it looks like a regular cell phone same size, same shape, same overall appearance. But beneath the digital face lies a .22-caliber pistol a phone gun capable of firing four rounds in quick succession with a touch of the otherwise standard keypad. European law enforcement officials stunned by the discovery of these deadly decoys say phone guns are changing the rules of engagement in Europe.

"We find it very, very alarming," says Wolfgang Dicke of the German Police union. "It means police will have to draw their weapons whenever a person being checked reaches for their mobile phone."

[Text continues]

Cell phone gun loaded and ready to fire
Firing the mobile phone gun
Opening the chamber of the cell phone gun

Comments:  True. As first reported in an ABC News article dated December 6, 2000 (from which the above text was clearly taken) and later by Time magazine, .22 caliber guns disguised as cell phones have been confiscated from smugglers in western Europe on more than one occasion in the past several years.

The guns, which are capable of firing four rounds in quick succession, are believed to have been manufactured in Yugoslavia or Croatia. The "antennae" of the gutted phones function as gun barrels and numbers 5 through 8 on the keypad as triggers.

The images at right, which show a cell phone gun being fired and disassembled to show the bullet chamber, are from a short video demonstration circulating as an attachment to the above email message. It appears to be authentic.

Security experts say the cell phone guns, as well as other "improvised explosive devices," can be detected by screening equipment now in use at airports internationally. Though they have been the subject of security alerts in the U.S. as recently as December 2003, none have yet been sighted in North America.

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Sources and further reading:

French Police Seize Guns Disguised as Mobile Phones
The Register (U.K.), 2 October 2003

Cell Phone Guns Discovered
ABC News, 6 December 2000

Press M for Murder: Cell Phones That Kill
Time, 25 January 2004 (press release)

Last updated: 03/11/04

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