The Right to Self Defense Also Extends to the Elderly and the Handicapped

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.

  1. Hello All – I am neurologically impaired with tetraplegia but I can shoot, will shoot, and continue to participate in firearm events with kind regard to those who may see disability as non-ability. With a disability the vision of opportunity is not myopic, just more challenging and who doesn’t like a challenge to make life interesting? (Omitting DMV from this conversation denies reality, but who cares? It’s MY life, not theirs.) What is taken away something is given back. My sense of smell is incredibly acute. I can smell you before I see you. Cool. If assistive devices make life, work, and recreation better, use them to your advantage. Thank you.


  2. PEOPLE -MOSTLY MEN- FELT THE SAME WAY ABOUT THE ‘CRANK’ AUTO BACK THEN TOO! “If you cant crank it on your own, then maybe u shouldnt be driving it? hahahahahaha….”




    peace. : )

    1. Mr. Yeager,I think it is very good of you to take the time to explain your logo, NPOA, etc. However, why you shuold have to at all is beyond me. The people who don’t understand Natural Point of Aim, that looking down the barrel of a digitized logo is simply that, they shuold all educate themselves before labeling anything gangsta style . Personally, my one-handed NPOA happens to be as perpendicular as my two-handed grip. That’s how I naturally get my best sight picture. NPOA for most is not

  3. being one of the people you quoted as being “anti disabled gun ownership” I feel that you are taking my particular comment out of context especially when I went on to clarify my position. I was the person who said “*… 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.”

    I went on to say that revolvers were an option, I would also add derringers. If you have not tried pulling the trigger on an Ruger sp 101, lcr, or Smith and Wesson 640 pro you should they fall into the same weight range as my M&P or maybe a hair heavier.

    but back to the main point I had. If you can not not safely use one type of firearm you move on to another type of firearm, whether it is a another semi auto or a revolver or a derringer. if you get caught up on one format of firearm then you will make the mistake of writing off acceptable alternatives for worse alternatives. what happens if your first round has a bad primer and you cant rack the slide to clear the round, you have just disarmed yourself, where as if you used a revolver you just pull the trigger again or cycle the hammer and the next round will either fire or not by you are still able to operate the firearm.

    1. Sorry that you feel that I took you out of context. I do think that your statement is pretty clear. I disagree with your assessment and know that people can indeed still rely on a semi-auto for personal defense even if they cant rack the slide. I also think that they should not be limiting themselves (caliber/capacity) in the choices they have available to defend themselves with.

      Yes, its a trade off… if the gun jams up after six rounds they would certainly only be left with a club, however if that revolver runs dry after six rounds they are in the very same boat.

      I appreciate your input and your thoughts on the subject. Thanks.

      1. Im sorry but no you can not trust a semi-auto firearm if you are physically incapable of clearing a malfunction. Yes everyone has the right to own a firearm regardless of physical capability but to say one platform is the end all be all is to be idiotic. if your sole argument is that you should have to carry an asistive (sp) device to operate one platform when there are others that will work for said person and the ability to clear its malfunctions are easier. whether its a break top pistol or a revolver or a derringer they will still work and give you the ability to defend yourself.

        To say the only firearm that you should focus on is an auto loader because its caliber options or ammo capacity are silly arguments.
        the major auto loader calibers are .380, 9mm, 40 cal, 45 acp. revolvers have 32 Smith Wesson, 38 spl, 357 mag, 45acp, 44 special, 44 magnum. there are an equal selection of major calibers, in terms of ammo capacity yes auto loaders tend to have a larger capacity but that is what speed loaders and moon clips are for aka reloading. ammo capacity is the only valid argument against Revolvers, but it is also the weakest seen as you have the ability to reload a revolver and using moon clips or speed loaders they reload quickly and easily.

        the core failing of the argument that those that see auto-loaders as not for everyone as being pro disabled or elderly disarmament is that there are other options to auto-loaders, and ignore the reality that not every option is right for everyone. if a firearm is a just a tool then isn’t it better that you use the tool you can fully operate rather than the tool you can only sort of operate? what happens when your first round in an auto-loader has a bad primer and you can not rack the slide you have a club but if you use a revolver or derringer or break top pistol you have a method for resolving the problem.

        the TLDR answer is: Auto loaders are not the only option stop think that they are.

        1. All great points… and I agree, semi-auto guns are definitely not the only option. People should not lock thenmselves into any single option.

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