We all know the Constitution tells us everyone has the right to keep and bear arms. But some people think there should have been a caveat saying that you should have the sense of sight in order to obtain a gun permit. According to the Des Moines Register, Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.
Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere questioned whether visually impaired people should be able to obtain these weapons permits.
“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,” LeClere said.
Even Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, said guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy.
“Although people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all life’s experiences, there are some things, like the operation of a weapon, that may very well be an exception,” Clancy said.
Iowa sheriffs for decades could legally deny gun permits for virtually any reason, including a person’s inability to see.
But since Iowa’s new law took effect, gun permits can only be denied for a reason specifically cited in state or federal law — such as domestic abuse or felony convictions. Physical disabilities are not one of the reasons a gun permit can be denied.
And because the safety certification in Iowa can be completed online with no required shooting accuracy test, sheriffs say they cannot deny the permits even if the applicant can’t see where to sign the application without assistance in guiding his or her hand.
Jane Hudson with Disability Rights Iowa said keeping legally blind people from obtaining weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Some other states, including Nebraska, require anyone applying for a gun permit to provide proof of their visual ability by supplying a driver’s license or doctor’s statement.
Hudson said she thinks someone could successfully challenge Nebraska’s vision restriction because federal law requires states to analyze a situation individually before denying a service.
“The fact that you can’t drive a car doesn’t mean you can’t go to a shooting range and see a target,” Hudson said.
Clutchettes, blind people and guns? What do you think about the idea?