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Award Winning NRA Disabled Shooting Services Division Opposes Los Angeles Handgun Ban Proposal

Wednesday, March 14, 2001

Proposed Ordinance Would Disproportionately Impact The Disabled
The National Rifle Association`s Disabled Shooting Services Division (DSSD) opposes a proposed Los Angeles ordinance that would ban small handguns (under 6 3/4" by 4 ½") because disabled shooters need access to those firearms for self-defense and sporting purposes. The proposal is set to be heard by the City`s Public Safety Committee on Monday, March 19th. (Call 213-485-4467 for information). The award and medal winning DSSD has been instrumental in developing therapeutic programs for the disabled to participate in shooting sports competitions. The shooting sports are one of the most valuable sports and recreation activities for citizens who happen to have a physical disability. The variety of equipment available is what opens the door of opportunity for disabled citizens, who would otherwise be precluded from participating in sports, to gain a meaningful experience in the shooting sports, right up to the Paralympic level. With equipment that is adapted to compensate for a specific disability, these people are able to gain a rewarding experience while practicing discipline, responsibility, concentration, and safety. In fact, of all the wheelchair sports, rifle and pistol shooting accommodates the highest levels of disability. The second is archery. Small pistols in particular are necessary for some people with disabilities to participate in the shooting sports. People with disabilities sometimes lack the hand strength or dexterity necessary to safely handle larger or heavier firearms. Paralysis, diminished hand agility or strength, small physical features, missing limbs, psycho-motor impairment, and a variety of other disabilities make these smaller handguns the only safe firearm for many people with disabilities to use. The LA ordinance will make it impossible for shooters with disabilities to compete in shooting sports because the smaller firearms that would be banned are the only appropriate and safe guns for them to use. Smaller firearms are also the only safe option for many people with disabilities to use for self-defense, since disabilities often make it impossible to flee, or to resist an attacker in any other way. The ability to be able to defend oneself also takes on heightened importance when a mobility impairment is involved, because a person with a disability does not enjoy the luxury of being able to rapidly flee a bad situation, as most able-bodied citizens can. People with disabilities must defend themselves and their loved ones on the spot. In many cases, the mobility impairment even precludes them being able to run to a telephone to call for help. And it certainly places them at a severe disadvantage in physically resisting an attack. For this reason, a small handgun is often the only option for these individuals. "Americans with disabilities deserve, and by law are entitled to, the same right to participate in the shooting sports and to protect themselves as all citizens." said Dave Baskin, DSSD Manager. "We hope the City will reject this insensitive and discriminatory proposal." Many people are not aware that there is a United States Disabled Shooting Team. The team has amassed a remarkable record of 240 medals, and set seven World and 16 Pan-Am Records while representing this nation in international shooting competitions. Shooting events are among the most popular of the many sports offered by Wheelchair Sports USA, at the many wheelchair games they stage around the nation every year. The shooting competitions also have by far the best safety record of all the wheelchair sports, including basketball, weightlifting and track & field.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.