Government Law

Blind applicants get gun permits in Iowa, officials say

You have to pass a vision test to get a driver’s license.

But not to get a gun permit, at least not in Iowa, reports the Des Moines Register.

State law bans officials from discriminating against the blind on the basis of their disability, and hence a gun permit cannot be denied solely on that basis, officials tell the newspaper.

And advocates for the blind point out that there is a wide spectrum of vision problems among those classified as legally blind, making individual assessment rather than a blanket prohibition a key concern.

“There’s no reason, solely on … blindness, that a blind person shouldn’t be allowed to carry a weapon,” said Chris Danielsen, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, noting that the group has not taken an official position on the issue. “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.”

Some contend that even someone who is severely vision-impaired could appropriately shoot in self-defense, under certain circumstances.

Others say it is hard to envision a situation in which a blind person should be firing a gun unsupervised.

Laws about qualifying for a gun permit vary from state to state, the article says. A few require vision tests, but many don’t. In Minnesota and Missouri, a live-fire test might effectively eliminate many individuals with vision problems, because applicants are required to hit a target.

“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware Sheriff John LeClere tells the newspaper. “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.”

Hat tip: Newsy

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