Running With Scissors

Apparently, the state of Iowa is issuing conceal carry permits to the blind.

So far the state has already issued several such permits, though it has not tracked how many.

Advocates for the permits make a strong legal case. Refusing to issue permits to people with visual impairments could very well violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits people with disabilities from being treated differently under the law. Likewise, unlike driving, which is considered a privilege, gun ownership is generally understood to be a constitutional right, making it difficult to impose limitations on it. In Iowa, people with visual impairments are already allowed to own guns privately, so the question at hand is whether there is a different safety concern when it comes to letting them carry guns in public.

I doubt anyone would argue that the legally blind shouldn’t be allowed to own guns, but letting them carry their guns in public is another story.

I understand arguments against banning it, but what are the arguments for it? Is a legally-blind good guy with a gun going to stop a bad guy? Can he be relied on to shoot the correct target? Even the not-legally-blind have been known to miss.

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  • junker359

    I read this on another thread – “legally blind” doesn’t necessarily mean “can’t see.” Someone might be legally blind without corrective lenses, but can see fine enough with the lenses. In some jurisdictions, for example, It is possible for someone who is legally blind to get a driver’s license, if their vision can be corrected.

    The flip side is that a driver’s license requires a vision test; I’ve never gotten a gun permit but I don’t think that requires a vision test.

  • Christopher Foxx

    I doubt anyone would argue that the legally blind shouldn’t be allowed to own guns,

    Challenge accepted. But the argument is based on having rational gun laws in the first place which would include requiring those who want to own guns to demonstrate that they know how to handle and operate them correctly and safely.

    Similar to a driving test. (Yes it’s a fair comparison despite the (unfortunately) accurate statement that most currently see driving a a privilege and gun ownership as a right). If ration laws were in place, getting a gun license would require you pass a written test and score high enough when actually discharging the gun at a target. Legally blind folks are unlikely to pass that practical test.

  • D_C_Wilson

    Only in America.

  • Yosha Bourgea

    Echoing Christopher Foxx. And then going further:

    The only people who should have access to guns are members of a well-regulated militia, also known as professionals. Some jobs require the use of guns. People who have those jobs should be able to use guns only in their professional capacity (as police officers, military officers, private security, etc.), and if other people want to use guns, they can apply for academy training. If they can prove themselves ready to be part of a well-regulated militia, their right to keep and bear arms will not be infringed.

    Hunters? Unless they’re indigenous people, they can find another hobby. Maybe if they really want to kill deer, they can learn how to shoot crossbows; I don’t know and I don’t care, but sport killing is not a right.

    Personal self-defense? People should not be trying to defend themselves with guns. They should have easy access to rapid response from law enforcement in the event of a life-threatening situation. Obviously that’s not the case now, but working toward *making* that the case makes a lot more sense to me than arming a nation of paranoid amateurs and expecting them to fend for themselves. Nobody who reads this blog needs me to cite the bloody statistics of the latter, present course.

    Defense against a tyrannical government? Don’t make me laugh.