Co-worker has ALS and can't use her gun


July 9, 2010, 03:44 PM
All - - -

A co-worker has just learned that she has ALS.

She’s already lost so much control that she doubts that she’ll be able to hold a gun after she fires the first round, and she says she doesn’t have the strength to rack a slide or pull a trigger. These were some of the conditions that made her go see a doctor in the first place.

I’ve tried to suggest she get a gun with a lighter trigger and maybe has a tip-up barrrel, but in reality, her condition will only degenerate. Even if she found something she could use today, she won’t be able to use it at some point in her future.

She asked if I knew where she could get rid of her gun, and I told her I’d be glad to buy it. It’s a Bersa 380, which is not something I would have gone out of my way to get, but what the hell.

I blurted out that I’d give her $300 for it. Someone please tell me that I’ve offered her a more-than-fair price.

She's a divorcee, but at least she has a big dog to help take care of her... A mostly-Ridgeback mutt.

Any positive ideas I can pass on to her would be greatly appreciated.

Anyone in the Tampa-St Pete area who wants to outbid me, go ahead.

- - - Yoda

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July 9, 2010, 05:00 PM
All you can do is pray for her.

If you really want the gun then buy it but make sure that it is not worth more than $300, if so then pay her the extra.

I would help her sell it myself.

July 9, 2010, 05:11 PM
My sister has limited strength in her hands. We picked out a chemical deterrent that she is able to operate easily. If protection is a concern for her, this may be an option that could work for her for the time being. She will need friends and support now. That can be very positive.

July 9, 2010, 05:13 PM,2933,461928,00.html

Check out this palm pistol. It was designed for simple self defense of the elderly and diabled (you don't have to tell her that)

Maybe you could buy it and just trade. I don't know what it costs, but that's what I would do.

July 9, 2010, 05:17 PM
Just taking a quick look on GunBroker, $300 seems to be on the higher end of what they're going can do it with a clear conscience.

ETA: the Palm Pistol concept looks interesting, but I'm concerned that it hasn't gone much beyond the vaporware phase (the Fox article was dated Dec. 2008)...

July 9, 2010, 05:18 PM
The palm pistol doesn't exist yet so I'm confused as to why people bring it up. It says very clearly on their site that they're taking pre-production orders.

As to the price you offered, it depends upon condition of the pistol. That can be a fair price for the two of you.

Jim Watson
July 9, 2010, 05:30 PM
I think $300 for a second hand Bersa is somewhere between fair and generous.

The single shot palm gun "medical appliance" is a joke.

How about an electric "stun gun" and some Mace?

July 9, 2010, 05:52 PM
+1 On the stun gun if your state allows it (here in MI they are verboten). There are also many good chemical deterrents, though if home defense is the issue, I would be cautious - wouldn't want her to accidentally incapacitate herself along with the BG.

July 9, 2010, 05:53 PM
Honestly at this point I would suggest the BEST thing you can do is make sure she gets the assistance she needs from here today on. Also I don't mean just financially.

ALS or any of the degenerative Muscular Dystrophy diseases are a hell of a disease to live through or see through. Unfortunately what will happen from here is if she gets mace it's a matter of time until she can't lift it anymore, then lifting the arm itself will be a task.

I hate to talk so negatively but I have many friends with DMD and personally have a dystrophy myself, I am acutely familiar with the reality of this diseases and their course. Any dependable help at this point would be far more valuable than $300.

July 9, 2010, 06:42 PM
My grandfather recently died of ALS and I agree with bigalexe. It is one hell of a disease and doesn't get better. Just existing will soon be hard enough for her. Good of you to offer a fair price for a firearm.

July 9, 2010, 07:23 PM
i dont really know much about als disease but is it possible she could shoot a revolver, possibly a .22?

July 9, 2010, 08:51 PM
mw, eventually she won't be able to move her body at all.

July 9, 2010, 09:37 PM
Your offer for the Bersa was a generous one . That is basicaly new price for the gun. Used ones should bring no more than $250

Sorry to hear about her medical condition .

July 9, 2010, 10:15 PM
If you want a good picture of the disease I suggest watching Tuesdays with Morrie which is by a Detroit Sports Reporter.

Basically the disease melts your muscles. Think of Progressive Alzheimers of the muscles.

July 9, 2010, 10:41 PM
My mother had it. Average time between diagnosis and mortality is 1.5 years. Although many people live much longer (Stephen Hawking has had it for 30 some odd years). Buy the gun for whatever price and help her get the assistance ASAP she will need to get through this terrible time. She will need much more assistance than what a Ridgeback mix can provide.

Some resources:

July 11, 2010, 06:09 PM
Mw, ALS progressively shuts down your muscle control till you're unable to breathe on your own. I watched a friend of my fathers die from this.

Rondy Neil was a local Arizona shooter and lived life to it's fullest. It's a shame someone as active as he was died that way.

My prayers go out to the op's friend. The best thing he could do is help her as much as possible. She's gonna need help doing everything.

July 12, 2010, 09:38 PM
Good on you. Three hundred is a tad high, but that's not the issue, is it? buy it with a clear conscience, and put it up a safe queen in her memory.
BTW, the bersa is also a good little gun. I've got a couple in my collection and they seem to be a fine little piece of machinery. (Not my favorite, but not junk either) My daugher carries a little Bersa Thunder something in .380 and swears by it. (and shoots it regularly and competantly in the quest for the dead beer can competitions that we regularly have out back...)

July 13, 2010, 10:40 AM
She is soon going to have FAR greater problems than shooting. Like breathing and not drowning on oral secretions.

July 13, 2010, 08:20 PM
Prayers for your friend.

July 13, 2010, 08:57 PM
That is sad to hear. Please give her my condolences.

$300 for a used Bersa is a good price, IMHO.

And an option for shooting, is she interested in rifles at all? She could do bench rest shooting for as long as she is able. You could always spot her the cash and/or trade for a rifle. :)

There's also this: The NRA's Disabled Shooting Services.

Hope this helps out a bit.

July 14, 2010, 09:15 AM
My son of 38 years recently passed from ALS, also known as Lou Gherig's Disease. It was a terrible thing to watch. He lived 5 years from diagnosis to death.

Self-defense will soon be her least worry. See to it that she contacts the local Chapter of the ALS Association for help in dealing with the disease. At some point she will need care 24/7.

July 14, 2010, 09:51 AM
I don't think I'd have her mess with stun guns, spray, or guns right now, if she's having a hard time with the Bersa, she's gonna have a hard time with all of it. The big dog really helps, though.

July 14, 2010, 10:07 AM
This is horrible. I don't really even know what to say except that her security concerns will be fleeting. My uncle died of Lou Gherig's Disease. It was just terrible, but many blessings were received though the experience. She really needs to begin planning out the EOL care. I pray it goes as well as it can.

Texas Gun Person
July 14, 2010, 10:41 AM
Prayers for your friend.

My grandmother was taken by ALS several years ago. She lived 5 years with it.

What ever she can do now she won't be able to in a few months, or a few years. Just depends on how it progresses... everyone is different.

July 14, 2010, 11:14 AM
I am so sorry to hear about your friend. What a kind and strong person to sell you her gun. At this point, after hearing her condition $300 doesn't seem like too much.

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