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Should People Who Are Blind Be Allowed To Carry Guns?


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A new debate over disability rights is emerging as Iowa grants permits for people who are blind to carry guns.

Changes to state law in 2011 allowed those with visual impairments to legally carry guns in public. And officials in one Iowa county say they’ve issued permits to at least three people who are legally unable to drive because of their limited sight.

“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” Sgt. Jana Abens of the Polk County sheriff’s office told the Des Moines Register.

The situation is leaving disability advocates and law enforcement officials split over whether or not it’s appropriate for those with limited to no vision to have access to firearms.

Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington has a daughter who is legally blind and favors training for those with visual impairments to carry weapons, a stance shared by some advocates who say that denying guns because of a disability would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Other law enforcement officials in the state are skeptical, however, and even some advocates say guns may present one area where equal access is unreasonable.

“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,” Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, told the newspaper.

Unlike Iowa, some states do consider vision abilities in issuing gun permits. Nebraska and South Carolina require applicants to provide proof of vision, for example. Meanwhile, in Missouri and Minnesota individuals with limited vision may be indirectly disqualified because of requirements to complete a live fire test and hit a target.

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Comments (11 Responses)

  1. Kathy says:

    I am fairly certain that some of us have lost our mind.

  2. jackie says:

    i thought this was a prank article- i am all for leveling the playing field for those with disabilities – there are just some things in life that require common sense, & this is one of those things- why would anyone who can’t see who/what they are aiming at WANT to fire a gun in the first place ? i could see amusement parks, with toy guns & targets, but not the real thing- i am 5’1″, & I wouldn’t expect the NBA to recruit someone of my stature. the world continues attempts to be politically correct, at the expense of common sense.

  3. marie camp says:

    It is our second consitutional right, the right to bear arms. As Americans we have the choice to do so, that what makes America great. If you start messing with one , pretty soon we loose all of them and wecome to Communism. Handicap people should have every right like everybody else.

  4. Rosella A. Alm says:

    At first I thought this was a joke, but after talking to my husband, (who is a veteran) we reconsidered. Since using a shotgun or a Uzi is much like using a pepper spray, a person with limited vision could do just fine with those weapons.

  5. Anna says:

    No. I can’t believe anyone is really talking about giving a blind or visually impaired person a gun. I’m sorry common sense should prevail on this particular issue.

  6. Whitney says:


    It is really not a prank. I mean the comedy political fake news had great time rolling with it. Rachel Maddow mentioned it. This country short on common sense when came to guns and the NRA.

  7. Gerald says:

    Like all gun advocacy stupidty, this one is completely lacking in foresight and common sense. America is not great b/c there are so many weapons in the hands of people who shouldn’t have them. It’s great b/c of it’s ability to lead the world into a better democratic state of being. This is one area where the rest of the western world is smarter and better than the USA and has no intention of following America’s lead (for good reason, look at the gun violence stats some day).

  8. R Howarth says:

    Why not just give them a bazooka? That way they cannot miss.

  9. Thomas says:

    The comments here suggest that respondents are focusing on the label rather than the individuals skill sets. If common sense is to prevail, a shooting test should be the measure of fire arm acquisition for all people. (Of course this would violate the constitution: which if I recall applies to those with and without disabilities). It might be useful for us to first examine the definition of “legally blind” before shooting our mouths/mouse off.

  10. Rhein says:

    I’m all for equal rights, but some things just need common sense to determine limits of those rights. If we don’t issue drivers licenses or cars to the blind why are we issues gun licenses. Somethings that need eye sight are off limits to those with impaired vision, and that included hand guns.

  11. Thomas says:

    Consider the following “Stereotypical bigotry to support a personal addenda” over assessment…..

    The only thing common about common sense is that most people are thinking the same way. Common sense once said people with disabilities are possessed by spirits, should be forcibly sterilized (eugenics movement), and are incapable of employment. What did common sense say about education for children with disabilities prior to the 1970?

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