Iowa Is Granting Carry Permits to the Blind
According to a report in today’s USA Today, the state of Iowa is regularly issuing gun carry permits to the nearly or completely legally blind.
As in many states, Iowa has no requirements for eye tests or other burdensome tests which pro-gun activists argue could be used to arbitrarily deny permits to otherwise eligible gun owners.
This means there are no legal barriers for the blind to be able to get a carry permit.
According to the article, local officials are divided on the issue,
On one side: People such as Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who demonstrated for The Des Moines Register how blind people can be taught to shoot guns. And Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who says blocking visually impaired people from the right to obtain weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. That federal law generally prohibits different treatment based on disabilities
On the other side: People such as Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos, who said he wouldn’t issue a permit to someone who is blind. And Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, who says guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy that blind people can participate fully in life.
There is specialized training that people with severe visual problems can receive in firearms, and many have even been able to partake in shooting sports, such as hunting.
Blind advocacy groups feel that the visually impaired should not have their rights denied because of a physical impairment, and they feel that those affected would rely on their better judgement to control any potentially dangerous situations.
According to the article,
The National Federation of the Blind does not track states that require vision tests as part of weapon permit processes and has not taken an official stand on the issue. But its members are generally opposed to such laws, said Chris Danielsen, director of public relations for the group.
“There’s no reason solely on the (basis) of blindness that a blind person shouldn’t be allowed to carry a weapon,” Danielsen said. “Presumably they’re going to have enough sense not to use a weapon in a situation where they would endanger other people, just like we would expect other people to have that common sense.”