senior citizen defender ATF
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senior citizens defender

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 — — 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.

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  1. My dad had polio when he was eight years old. Almost everyone that has had polio and lives long enough will develop post polio syndrome. This is a degeneration of the nerves resulting in muscle weakness. The last three or four years of his life he couldn’t raise any of the handguns I had given him over the years high enough to use the sights. He may have been able to use this weapon from his wheelchair.

    • I completely agree. I had polio when I was 4, but I came out of it far better than most. I was diagnosed with PPS a number of years ago but the progression has been very slow in my case. I have encountered other neurological problems over the years and PPS is more of a minor problem compared to some of the others. I can still shoot a pistol when needed and hope that I always will! I think this device could be a great help to those with muscle and nerve damage.

    • The ADA has real legal teeth when it comes to requiring “equal access” to disabled people. Government bureaucracies can be notoriously churlish when it comes to just about any ADA-versus-institutionalized-policy issues but they also lose more often than they win. The problem, of course, is that bureaucracies like ATF simply don’t see themselves as being covered by ADA rules. Typically, they’ve never audited their policies in terms of ADA compliance and only reluctantly do so even when compelled to by a court order. ATF will not want to formally admit that its policies deny self-defense access to elderly citizens who need to defend themselves. It’ll be interesting to see where this goes.

  2. Add a suppressor to the SCD and perfection would be achieved! This is an excellent idea for not only senior citizens but for anyone who for what ever reason is unable to lift or hold things steady. Holding a gun or anything steady is more difficult with age and this should be a huge help.

  3. First off, this sounds like something many disabled gun owners could use. A close friend of my father developed MS and had to give up his handguns (Dad bought at least half of them if I remember right.) because he could no longer hold them steady. Tom’s gone now but I can still remember all the lessons he and Dad taught me about guns and gun safety.

    Second, is this an addon to the gun or a gun with this additional grip built into it? The article doesn’t seem to make this clear.

    Third, as a disabled individual, I am incensed that anyone would try to limit my rights in any way, shape, or form. And, though some state and federal agencies seem to be all for getting rid of all guns, I’ve found that at the local level in this country, law enforcement is strongly for responsible gun ownership. Key word there being “responsible”.

    • Here is a note I just received from a company spokesman:

      “Initially, it will be made to attach to one or two specific guns.
      Multi-gun versions will eventually be offered, but there is no definite timeline for that, sorry.”

  4. I injured my arm at work and could barely raise it to shoulder level without great pain…I can see where this would be helpful…

  5. I just remembered something. I used to own a Thompson Center Contender. It had a firearm. They’ve been around for decades. Except for round count; what’s the difference?

      • Once again, I don’t see how this is any different than holding a gun with two hands

        And, hip shooting is highly inaccurate for all but the highly practiced.

        • The elderly lady in the video (who had never shot a pistol before) seemed to do pretty well with it. I think the laser helped.

        • It literally IS “holding a gun with two hands”. Your original post said “traditional two handed grip” anyway, but move those goalposts wherever you need em.

        • There’s my question. The laser alone means not needing to use the sights, thus no need to raise it to eye level. Seems like adding the laser is self-defeating.

  6. Why the he!! would the ATF object to this? Unless they just want you to “respect mah authoritatah”😩

    • Why would they object?

      Potentially because of the interface between various BATFE definitions. A pistol or revolver is “designed to be fired one handed” without being placed against the shoulder. This is why a pistol with a brace is a pistol but if you put a stock on it you have an SBR. It’s also why the “shouldering a brace” thing was an issue. The gun was designed for one handed operation but could be shouldered which is why the ATF said that shouldering “substantially redesigned” the gun. Obviously that was horseshit but it was the only argument they had since a braced pistol wasn’t something they’d considered when crafting regulation governed by the NFA.

      Now the ATF also says that a handgun is “designed to be fired one handed” or is designed so that it can be fired with one hand easily, whence “handgun”. So, the above is true if you put a vertical grip on the front of a pistol because now the gun is “designed” to be held with a second hand in front of the trigger which is different that wrapping both hands around a single handle. Doesn’t matter if you stick a vertical grip on an AR or AK pistol or you put it on a FN or a Glock. According to the BATFE you’ve now “redesigned” that firearm to be used with two hands which mean’s it’s no longer a pistol but is now a rifle and it’s too short to be a legal rifle so it’s an SBR.

      Essentially, if it’s “not a pistol” (designed to facilitate one handed operation sans a stock) and it’s too short to be a rifle then you have an NFA toy in the form of an SBR/SBS. BUT, when it comes to grips on the foreend, according to the BATFE this doesn’t apply to everything. Generally applies to vertical grips but their real issue is if you’ve created a “handle” that you grip in a manner similar to a pistol grip. Handstops on a pistol are still acceptable because they don’t provide a “second handle” but merely allow you to adjust your support hand while still “supporting” the gun which makes your hand a rest for the front end of the gun rather than giving you another handle. That movement of the support hand is something you could theoretically do with most full framed pistols, shifting your offhand to being in front of the trigger guard but using it “just to be a rest” for the gun. It would be awkward but you could do it and it would be legal.

      So, this thing doesn’t have a vertical grip up front which means it can be argued that it’s just moving the support hand for two-handed shooting of a pistol in a manner that you could do legally with a regular old pistol but that this thing just gives you a nice spot to put a laser/light while doing that.

      Will the ATF buy that? I don’t know. If someone over there gets a bug up their ass they may argue that it substantially redesigns the gun in a manner that means it’s designed to be used with two hands in such a way that it’s now an SBR. That would mean they’d have to reverse their current position on carbine and rifle caliber pistols using a handstop but it’s not like the ATF hasn’t simply reversed themselves in the past.

  7. Kudos to this company for even thinking of helping our aging population, who are often the most vulnerable and are preyed upon by the scum of the earth out there.

  8. If your body is too frail to handle conventional firearms, perhaps you shouldn’t be attempting to handle them.

  9. I love that grip. So different than the thumb-over-thumb grip. Maybe that’s why I prefer a shotgun to pistol. I’d compare it to standing with your feet together as apposed to them being 12″ apart. (Ballet “position two” much more comfortable than “position one”. )

  10. The whole purpose of having massive numbers of poorly written laws filled with vague definitions that could be interpreted to mean whatever some judge / LEO / government official _wants_ them to mean, is so that _everyone_ is at least technically a “criminal” under some obscure law, to some extent or another, depending on who such laws are being applied to. This serves as powerful incentive for good people to shut up and do nothing while evil makes advances, out of fear of drawing harmful state attention upon themselves.

    “Corruptisima republica plurimae leges.” (The more corrupt a republic, the more numerous its laws.) – Tacitus

  11. In the People’s Republic of M-Assachusetts
    , (Soon to include VA.) Where local/State Police have absolute control over a MA. Residents 2nd amendment Constitutional Right…(Re: Considered a barely tolerated “privilege” by most MA. Demo-Authoritarians, MA. Law Enforcement community, and some GOP/RINO Globalists…Permit schemes to purchase/own….May or May NOT issue… Constitution Waivers, Red Flag disenfranchisement, restrictions, prohibitions,and multiple police permissions included….) So, no one would give to $#its about the elderly defending themselves.( In some MA elderly folks homes, or establishments…Most property MGMT. firms Force the old folks to sign leasing agreements to “surrender’ their 2nd amendment privileges… Stating “No weapons of any type in your residence!!!” Or be subject to a “lease violation” with punitive measures up to including eviction!!!?? (The same has been done to normal aged MA residents in private or property MGMT controlled apartment operations within MA. …) They would be “told” not to take the law into their own hands and call 911 for local police assistance. They would be told, if they absolutely had to defend themselves…They should use whatever is laying around… (re: environmental weapons= Flip-Flops, shoes, tie, roll of paper towels, pillow, Self-Urination, etc… Acceptable Certified Liberal forms of Self-defense…) Only use the local police…So from the state that ranks “Guns and Ammo 2015” number 48th for the worst 2nd amendment infringements…No one here gives two $#its about the elderly….Or anyone else for that matter….Good Luck VA. ….This is what happens when you “Massachusetts up” your State government!

    • Well, though I live in Pennsylvania, I would have had a problem when I was living on my parents’ farm: NO LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT!!! Seriously, the township we lived in did not have a police department of any kind. The office of sheriff was there but it hadn’t been filled in over two decades. If we needed law enforcement, we had to call the state police–who were over an hour away. Most of the township didn’t care, though, since nearly everybody was a gun owner.

      And, because of an argument with my sister, I had reason to look over my lease for state subsidized housing–including the new handbook that just came out–and while firearms are strongly discouraged, they are not prohibited. Frankly, I don’t think the PA State Housing Authority dares prohibit them. Especially around here. Too many hunters.

    • I read about a senior in Maine who was robbed several times while he was home. Young thugs jst came inand robbed him and left. tjis happened several times. He went out and bought a gun and the same night he was robbed again only this time he won the battle because he was armed. The Housing Authoirity told him no guns but he took it to court and the court ruled it was his Constitutional Right to have a gun for protection and he got to keep his gun and didn’t have any legal issues for his use of a gun when robbed.
      Go to court and keep trying till you get justice.

  12. The ADA is an extremely powerful and all encompassing law and frankly no one wants to go afoul of it (rightfully so, IMO).

    I once had a woman who worked for me who was half African-American and half Native American by ethnicity. Renee was also a Buddhist (I have no idea whether that made a difference or not and didn’t want to find out). She was 66 and was obese. To the point of needing an electric scooter.

    I came to work one morning and she was struggling with the front door. I got to my desk and called the building owners/management folks and I had a push button door on that place before noon. I then called my boss and HR and told them how much money I had just spent. My boss flipped out (it was like 2 grand in 1995 dollars) but then I said it was for Renee and that was that, End of discussion.

    I liked her and she was a good coder and employee. Was money well spent I thought.

    I don’t see any ATF rule going against this.

  13. Great idea. But I don’t understand why this has to be designed to be model- or caliber-specific. Most semi-autos have some kind of picatinny rail under the muzzle. It would be a fairly simple thing, IMHO, to make an extension that just attaches there and would fit on just about any semi-auto pistol.

  14. Makes me wonder why no one has filed an ADA lawsuit against Second Amendment infringing entities? By infringement of 2nd A and by outlawing certain firearms features such as braces, hand guards, pistol grips, fore grips, standard capacity magazines, bumpstocks, semiautomatic actions, well even select fire if you think about it and many more infringements. Disabled (under ADA), elderly (under ADEA), gender (Title 42 and others) discrimination are federal crimes. Placing any of these groups and others at a disadvantage vis-à-vis an assailant in a self defense scenario is discrimination.
    “The Court made clear that the federal government may continue to sue States for injunctive relief and money damages under Title I, and that private individuals may sue state officials in their official capacities as long as the plaintiffs do not seek money damages,”

    • …infringements are violations of ADA and other antidiscrimination laws. Disabled…
      My words keep disappearing, ;(

  15. Nice try. My advice: don’t produce too much finished goods inventory. Do make-to-order if you can. It’s just a matter of time and attention before ATF shuts that down.

  16. I don’t believe that lady never shot a pistol before. No flinch, no eye blink, ho hesitation. Regardless, the product has merit.

  17. For anyone that thinks the disabled or old should not be able to protect themselves, I suggest you think twice before writing us off. That is the joy of being looked at as a victim. For all the criminals, I suggest you think twice before approaching a “victim”. That blind guy might just give you something extra to stop the threat..
    Now about the VA description- It actually states “Explodes”? Doesn’t that void the whole argument since it’s really a controlled burn”? Words matter. LOL

  18. Anything that helps give 2A access to the old or handicap is a great thing.
    Which is why it will be opposed by the Liberals and the Left.

  19. I added a laser to my Hi Point 995TS with the switch attached to the barrel shroud such that it sits just under my thumb. It is easy to hit a target shooting from the hip with the laser. Don’t laugh that it’s a Hi Point. Plenty accurate for the purpose. Certain state laws notwithstanding, this product attached to a pistol is the same idea and a good idea.

  20. I see where this is going… Well played… They are trying to use the ADA to kill SBR’s and attack state assault weapons bans all at the same time! Now this is next level legal jujitsu! This is how we win!

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