(KMOV) -- A local sheriff is banning cell phones from the courthouse. The reason: he doesn't want someone to sneak a gun inside court.
Madison County Sheriff Robert Hertz says law enforcement has discovered hand guns disguised as cell phones.
Any electronic recording device is already banned from the Madison County Courthouse, but the sheriff tells me he has a new concern. He's seen evidence that cell phones can be loaded with bullets and turned into a hand gun.
"I don't know how you could fit bullets in one," Tina Warren marveled.
But it can -- and has -- been done.
"This is actual, official documentation of a seized, cell phone gun from Los Angeles," Sheriff Hertz said as he showed me the report.
Sheriff Hertz says it's all the proof he needs to ban all cell phones from the Madison County Courthouse.
"I can't expect my limited staff over there to be able to know the inner workings of all of these phones," Sheriff Hertz said.
He showed me older model phones known to be converted to fire four, .22-caliber bullets.
"The pushing of this button becomes a gun," Sheriff Hertz said as he demonstrated what a cell phone gun would look like.
And while deputies here haven't come across one, they're trying to stay ahead of the curve.
"This isn't just restricted to the boundaries of Los Angeles," Sheriff Hertz said. "It's worldwide, nationwide, so to say this couldn't end up over at the courthouse, I think is foolish thinking. There's no doubt in my mind that this will take off -- hopefully not widespread."
Deputies say it's nearly impossible to guard against these on the streets, which the sheriff calls "pretty frightening," but he says since a courthouse can be a volatile place by nature, he's trying to take out as many options for violence as possible.