Gun permits for the blind are being issued by the state of Iowa, raising fresh concerns over gun regulations during a time of already heightened tensions over federal and state gun control laws. The Des Moines Register said on Sept. 8 that no one is questioning the legality of the law, what’s being questioned is the lack of common sense.
State law in Iowa says a citizen cannot be denied the right to purchase and carry a gun because of any physical impairment. However, should visually disabled Iowans be allowed to purchase weapons?
Yes, says Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who said blind people can be taught to safely handle a weapon. Also on the pro side is Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who says to deny gun ownership based on a disability would violate the federal Americans with Disabilities Act.
Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos disagrees, stating he would not issue a permit to a blind person, no matter what the law allow for.
Sgt. Jana Abens, a spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office, sees both sides. “It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” said Abens.
Delaware Sheriff John LeClere summed it up: “I’m not an expert in vision,” LeClare said. “But at what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”
The federal Gun Control Act of 1968 placed limits on those who can apply for a permit. Individuals who have felony convictions on their record, drug users and the mentally unstable are among those who cannot be issued a weapons permit. But those who are blind, even completely, can.
While the Second Amendment does indeed guarantee the right to possess a gun, should the legally blind be allowed to carry, and ultimately use, a firearm? Leave your thoughts below.