I am here to say that those rights are not exclusive to the ‘Normals’ either. Each of us, and especially the disabled, have a right to self-defense, including gun ownership and use. The difference is that, like with so many things in our lives, we need to adapt the tool to our ability or ourselves to the tool. Disabled people can and do most of the things the Normals do as we have no other choice, we just do them a little differently. Using a firearm safely and effectively is no different.
Disabled? Differently-abled? Digit-ally challenged? People come in all shapes, sizes, genetic pre-dispositions, and configurations. Most people come pre-built with four limbs, two hands, two feet, ten fingers, and ten toes. The “Normals.” Some, like me, are born missing some parts and some lose pieces of themselves later in life. I was born missing half my left hand, including all of my fingers on that hand. Some lose limbs or digits to workplace accidents, car crashes, disease, or any multitude of other tragedies. There is no easy or right term for people like me. For ease and brevity, I’ll use the term “disabled”, although I know a number of people dislike that term. For now, it is the term used by society and in the law books, so I’ll use it here.
There’s no getting around the fact that, like everything else mass-produced for the Normals, firearms are generally designed to be used comfortably by people with two arms, two hands, ten fingers, and average grip strength. However, firearms, and especially handguns, are also designed to be capable of being operated one-handed – with training and practice. Every branch of the military and, I imagine, most law enforcement agencies require their personnel to be able to shoot a handgun, one-handed, with each hand in case one or the other limb is shot or disabled. How do I know this? Because this requirement is probably the sole reason I was never accepted to serve in the military or even as a reserve officer. It’s that important.
LGO Firearms Development Group member Mark Oknyansky, training in Forth Worth, Texas.
So, we know that it’s possible, and in some cases expected, that firearms can and are safely operated with one hand.
Of course, firearms use or ownership and the right to defend oneself is not limited to the military or law enforcement. We all have heard the gun nuts exclaim how the Second Amendment grants each of us the right to not only defend our State or local community, but also to act in our own self-defense. As you’ll see throughout the LGO Lens, that view is not exclusive to Republicans or “the right”. To quote Professor David Yamane’s Gun Culture 2.0 slogan: Guns are Normal, Normal People Use Guns.
(Please note: while members of society can treat disabled persons differently, or can fail to acknowledge or accommodate their specific needs, this is not to be confused with sociological “normality” as discussed by Professor Yamane. Sociological normality is cross-cultural and does not differentiate between able-bodied individuals and disabled individuals in society.)
LGO Firearms Development Group member Howard Thompson, training in Forth Worth, Texas.
I am here to say that those rights are not exclusive to the Normals either. Each of us, and especially the disabled, have a right to self-defense, including gun ownership and use. The difference is that, like with so many things in our lives, we need to adapt the tool to our ability or ourselves to the tool. Disabled people can and do most of the things the Normals do as we have no other choice, we just do them a little differently. Using a firearm safely and effectively is no different.
My name is Mark Oknyansky. I’m a lawyer from Los Angeles, California. I will be writing a series of blog posts for The LGO Lens that will examine the challenges posed by shooting-while-disabled, discuss why and whether disabled persons should learn to use a firearm, and provide helpful information, techniques, and hopefully a chuckle or two.
Really amazing first write up. I hope this brings awareness and understanding that those with disabilities are not different and they can adapt. I was always amazed growing up and watching how my Dad could out do me with certain things with 1.5 legs vs my 2 and watching you on the range outshooting the “normals”. I hope the industry begins to appreciate and actually mentor and build up instructors in this space too. Looking forward to reading and understanding more.