Iowa Gives Blind People Gun Permits, Lets Them Carry Firearms in Public

So, this sounds like an accident just waiting to happen. Iowa is granting permits to legally and completely blind people allowing them to buy and carry guns in public, the Des Moines Register reports.

Don't worry, the state does require training for anyone who wants a permit to carry a weapon in public — oh, but that training is online. And doesn't include a shooting test. Or any actual instruction.

Actually, Iowans with limited eyesight have been able to privately own guns for awhile now. But thanks to a law passed in 2011, blind Iowans are now able to legally carry firearms in the public sphere as well. Apparently, restricting the visually impaired from the right to buy guns would violate federal law, which protects anyone with physical disabilities via the Americans with Disabilities Act.

“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing,” said a spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office.

Other states aren't so lenient. Many have vision requirements that are, either explicitly or implicitly, part of the gun permit criteria. Missouri and Minnesota require that applicants hit a target before receiving their firearms permit, and Nebraska needs applicants to submit a valid driver's license, or a statement from an optician, in order to provide “proof of vision.”

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

Ya think?

But there are advocates who say there's no good reason for refusing to allow blind people to carry guns.

“It’s perfectly within the realm of possibility and within our rights that a blind person can safely carry a weapon if he or she decides they want to do that,” said the president of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, who himself is blind.

“When you shoot a gun, you take it out and point and shoot, and I don’t necessarily think eyesight is necessary,” he added. “If someone is attacking me, I’m going to be able to hear what they’re doing, and if I need to use the weapon, I’ll use the weapon.”

Well, that sounds safe.