Concealed On Wheels

Reprinted from PN Feburary 2017

Take a look at some options for carrying a concealed weapon for self-defense when you're in a wheelchair

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The decision to carry a concealed firearm for protection should never be taken lightly. 

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Justice, people with disabilities are significantly more likely to be victims of violent crimes, which is why some wheelchair users choose to carry a concealed weapon.

Paralyzed Veterans of America National Secretary Larry Dodson, who has used a wheelchair since sustaining a C4 spinal-cord injury in 1974, has seen firsthand how people who have a disability can be viewed as easy prey for criminals. He was targeted by robbers in three separate incidents over a two-year period.

The first robbery occurred in 1979, when he was working for an accounting office in North Carolina and was taking a big deposit to the bank. Shortly after, he decided to get a concealed carry permit. The next robbery attempt was in a parking lot near his office, but that time Dodson displayed his weapon and the suspect ran away. The third time, the robber succeeded by flipping Dodson over in his manual wheelchair, leaving Dodson unable to retrieve his weapon.

Nic Danger shows an example of a pouch someone in a wheelchair might use for concealed carry, which he prefers over a holster. (Photo Brittany Martin).

“I believe that concealed carry is a very good idea for us [people in wheelchairs] to consider,” says Dodson. “I found it really a sad state when people have to go out and take advantage of the disabled who are not in a position to really defend themselves as adequately as someone who’s able to run or drop and fire at will. We’re at a little bit of a disadvantage.”

If you use a wheelchair, there are additional factors you must take into consideration to ensure your own safety and the safety of others around you. From how and where to carry your weapon to defensive training, it can be challenging to figure out what works best for you.

On The Wheelchair Or Body?

Because every individual varies in strength and mobility, the best way to conceal a weapon is often largely determined on a case-by-case basis. 

Ultimately, the key is for concealed carry permit holders to be absolutely sure their firearm can be deployed quickly and safely, they’re comfortable with their weapon’s operation, and they have trained properly to hit their target.  

Joseph Logar, PT, DPT, is the national manager of the Adaptive Shooting Program, Education and Training Division, for the National Rifle Association (NRA). Logar was hired a little more than a year ago to head the program, and he’s made concealed carry a major focus. 

“What I would love to see happen is just like we have our disciplines, pistol, rifle and shotgun, I would like to have another discipline of adapted shooting, that way you could have instructors who were adaptive shooting instructors, not just pistol instructors or rifle instructors,” Logar says. 

Logar, who has a background as an NRA pistol instructor and in health care and rehabilitation fields, recently co-authored a comprehensive NRA guidebook about concealed carry for wheelchair users. The book is currently in the editing process, and a website is also in the works.

“What we’ve found is more people in wheelchairs concealed carry than we realize, and some of them are doing it just kind of on the fly, on their own, with little to no guidance, to varying degrees of success,” Logar says.

Logar’s goal with the guidebook is to present a set of standardized, proven, reliable techniques that have been focus-group tested.

In general, Logar says carrying the weapon on the body is preferable to carrying it on the wheelchair. This is for the simple reason that if the gun is attached to the chair and an attacker throws you from your wheelchair, you’re separated from your firearm and left unable to defend yourself. If the weapon is carried on or under the chair, there’s also a chance it could fall out or easily be stolen.


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