Yesterday I posted the picture of this devise over at Gunway… it is designed to help individuals who have hand problems to more easily manipulate the slide of a semi auto pistol.
The comments section created a bit of a backlash that didnt sit very well with me personally. I will say upfront that perhaps I took things out of context or perhaps the people commenting simply didnt get their point across effectively enough… that can certainly happen on the interwebs. However, what was said really touched a nerve with me… mainly because the comments completely wrote off anyone who needs this devise as being unfit for gun ownership/concealed carry… i.e. the right to self defense. Here is what they wrote…
*Does this fall under the of if-you-need-it-you-shouldn’t-be-holding-a-gun category?
*… if u need this u shouldn’t be shooting a hand gun
*… if you cant rack a pistols slide then you can’t safely operate it and that puts the operator at risk if they cant clear a malfunction when it happens.
*If someone is physically unable to rack a slide, they might struggle with the weight of the trigger pul and recoil from 38 revolver…
Now, I will go ahead and tell you right upfront that I have a dog in this fight, and that is what I pointed out in my response to their comments…
I dont really think that its legitimate to say that if you need this, then you shouldnt have the means to self defense. I have a grand father who cant rack a slide (due to a hand injury) but handles a pistol just fine. We just rack the slide for him. This may not be the best tool, and it might actually be better to go with a revolver… those are both legit arguments. However, everyone deserves the right to personal defense.
You see, I believe that everyone… no matter what their physical condition/limitations deserves the right to own/carry a firearm for personal protection. I will go as far to say that even someone who is legally blind deserves that right. Yes, you read that right… Even a blind guy should be able to carry a gun for personal defense. I think that you could probably make the case that he should not be held to the same legal standard as far as use of force and discharging a firearm, but if somebody is on top of him beating him senseless then I am pretty sure someone who is even blind has the ability to put a snubbie in the bad guy’s belly and hit the target.
You see, its all about personal responsibility. Everyone, no matter if they are physically impaired or not is responsible for each and every round that comes out of that handgun. If they can’t hit the broad side of a barn due to blindness, a physically impairment, or they simply cant shoot for sh*t then that still falls on them to act in a way that is responsible and does not endanger innocent bystanders. If they are negligent they most certainly should be held accountable for those actions, but we should not be disenfranchising people based on hypotheticals and jumped to conclusions.
Which brings me back to my aforementioned grandfather. You see, he has a physical injury which affects the fingers of his left hand. He is 100% unable to rack the slide of a semi-auto pistol. Thats why we stage the gun for him. However, he is fully capable of getting a proper two handed grip on a firearm and controlling it very effectively. He can in fact, shoot the state mandated concealed carry course and police qualifier. Oh, and did I mention that he recently passed both with flying colors? He carries a Kel-Tec P3AT for self defense… a gun that has some hot, snappy recoil… and he handles it just fine.
So does he not deserve the right to self defense simply because he can not manipulate the slide of a semi-auto? I think not. He is most certainly capable of handling a firearm in a safe, effective, and responsible manner. Sure, it may be a problem if it jams since he cant clear the malfunction, but getting off that first shot or two is far better than being completely defenseless. It makes no sense to say that someone must be able to rack a slide in order to have the right to carry a firearm. If that person can make it work for them then that should be OK. Denying a elderly peson the right to self defense because of his lack of hand strength is a knee-jerk reaction, its wrong, and in this case it would endanger the lives of both him and his wife. My grandfather is a prime example of the type of individuals who needs to carry a firearm for personal protection. Without it he is at the mercy of the wolves.
Lets take it a step further shall we… should we disqualify gun ownership and concealed carry to someone who has lost an entire arm? I think not. I personally know of one man who lost his arm serving our country in Iraq who concealed carries everyday… oh, and by the way he runs a rifle better then most of the people who will read this article.
Yes, everyone deserves the right to self defense… and the elderly and physically handicapped probably do even more so. When we see someone who has a problem fitting the most useful tool for self preservation into their equation of personal defense we dont need to jump to conclusions and say that they are unfit. Instead we need to be thinking outside of the box about ways that we can help them integrate a firearm into their unique circumstances and help them find a way to be on equal ground with anyone who might wish to do them harm.