A company is developing an interesting firearm accessory they’re calling the Senior Citizen Defender. It looks a little odd, but it serves a useful purpose.
The idea is that as people age, some find it difficult to raise their arms high enough to get a good pistol sight picture. My own father, in his later years, could not lift his arm that high without an assist.
The SCD is an extension that serves as a forward — horizontal — grip and provides a platform for a laser sight. This makes it possible to firearm from waist height and hit what you’re aiming at.
As the company’s web site name — ADA2A.com — suggests, they had the Americans with Disabilities Act in mind when designing this. Their reasoning is that if the ATF chooses to call this a second forward grip, making it not a one-handed weapon, it could be classified as an Any Other Weapon.
The argument seems to be that the Senior Citizen Defender makes Second Amendment-protected self defense accessible to those who are physically disabled, and is thus protected by ADA. That’s a useful and valid argument, but I don’t think it’s needed in dealing with the National Firearms Act, so far as the SCD goes.
As ADA2A states . . .
Three independent firearm professionals conducted that review and all three concluded that the device is in compliance with the law. Moreover, two of these professionals are retired ATF personnel.
While the ATF has ruled that a vertical fore grip makes a handgun an AOW, they have also ruled that the Mossberg Shockwave is not an NFA firearm. The Shockwave is held the same way that one holds a pistol with Senior Citizen Defender.
On the other hand, many “assault weapon” bills, of which Virginia HB 961 is typical, could affect this device.
4. A semi-automatic center-fire pistol that expels single or multiple projectiles by action of an explosion of a combustible material that has the ability to accept a detachable magazine and has one of the following characteristics: (i) a folding or telescoping stock; (ii) a thumbhole stock; (iii) a second handgrip or a protruding grip that can be held by the non-trigger hand; (iv) the capacity to accept a magazine that attaches to the pistol outside of the pistol grip; (v) a shroud that is attached to, or partially or completely encircles, the barrel and that permits the shooter to hold the pistol with the non-trigger hand without being burned; (vi) a manufactured weight of 50 ounces or more when the pistol is unloaded; (vii) a threaded barrel capable of accepting (a) a silencer, (b) a flash suppressor, (c) a barrel extender, or (d) a forward handgrip; or (viii) any characteristic of like kind as enumerated in clauses (i) through (vii);
According to ADA2A’s company spokesman, only a Ruger Mark IV-compatible design has been finalized, but they are working on other designs. I suspect those other designs will include center-fire chamberings such .32 ACP or .380, as they’re better defense rounds than .22 LR, but would still have low enough recoil to be handled even by someone who needs the assistance of the Senior Citizen Defender.
So the idea that the ADA would protect a firearm equipped with an SCD is still useful. What? You want to unlawfully render Granny helpless?
But back to the NFA. If a horizontal forward grip makes a firearm useable by a disabled person, why shouldn’t ADA protection also be extended to vertical grips? Again taking my father for an example, his wrists were such that I believe he could have managed a vertical grip far more easily than a horizontal shroud grip.
I submit that the ATF’s AOW classification for vertical fore grips violates the NFA. Come the day I win the Power Ball, I’ll be happy to fund the legal challenge for someone whose wrist mobility restricts their grip range.