In the land of the blind, there shouldn’t be guns

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Blind people can legally carry guns in public. What could go wrong?

On Sept. 8 the Des Moines Register reported that Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.

This is a case of technicalities of law completely disregarding common sense.

According to the federal Gun Control Act of 1968, the only people who are legally denied the right to possess firearms are people who were convicted of crimes and served time for more than a year, people addicted to controlled substances and anyone who has been committed to a mental institution.

Not only does legal blindness not fall under the restrictions of the Gun Control Act, but it is actually protected by the American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990. 

Under the ADA, Congress found that “physical or mental disabilities [should] in no way diminish a person’s right to fully participate in all aspects of society.”

People who are blind can and should be able to participate fully in nearly all life experiences. However, similar to how the legally blind are not granted the right to operate a vehicle, there are some things that they should not be allowed for public safety reasons. The operation of a weapon falls under this category.

Yet Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights IOWA thinks differently. She argues that it would be a violation of the ADA to not grant gun permits to the visually impaired. Hudson claims, “The fact that you can’t drive a car doesn’t mean you can’t go to a shooting range and see a target,” according to an article by The Guardian.

Many people beg to differ. When it comes to being severely visually impaired, driving a car and shooting a gun are just two sides of the same coin.

Whether it is shooting at a blurry mass or simply taking aim at a voice, no special training offered to the legally blind is going to convince the vast majority of the American public that blind people packing heat is good for society.

Although special training services are offered to the visually impaired seeking gun permits in some Iowa counties, they are not mandatory. According to the same article by the Des Moines Register, Iowa requires training for anyone issued a permit to carry a weapon in public. Yet that requirement can be satisfied through an online course that does not include any hands-on instruction or a shooting test. Some recipients of gun permits would not even be able to fill out the online course without assistance.

There are many states that allow the opportunity for gun permits for the visually impaired as long as they prove their strength of vision. For example, in Nebraska applicants for a permit to carry a concealed handgun must provide “proof of vision” by either presenting a valid state driver’s license or a statement by an eye doctor that the person meets the vision requirements set for a typical vehicle operator’s license. This way, states avoid outright discrimination while still taking public safety into consideration.

The legally blind walking around with a white cane in one hand and a gun in the other may not be a topic of grave importance; however its absurdity has caught the public’s attention.

Even proponents of the Second Amendment are left scratching their heads over this. It is an obvious move in the opposite direction from common sense gun safety restrictions and can only result in more harm than good.

The bottom line is – vision requirements should be directly or indirectly part of the weapon permits criteria. 

-Ashley Lynn Fisher is a junior English major from Gig Harbor. She can be contacted at 335-2290 or by [email protected] The opinions expressed in this Column are not necessarily those of the staff of The Daily Evergreen or those of Student Publications.