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Posted by on Sep 8, 2013 in Politics | 22 comments

Iowa Granting Permits to Buy or Carry Guns in Public to Legally Blind or Completely Blind People

Iowa is granting permits to purchase or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind. It’s not enough that some mentally ill people are getting their hands on guns and going on shooting rampages, but now the blind? Wow.

No one questions the legality of the permits. State law does not allow sheriffs to deny an Iowan the right to carry a weapon based on physical ability.

The quandary centers squarely on public safety. Advocates for the disabled and Iowa law enforcement officers disagree over whether it’s a good idea for visually disabled Iowans to have weapons.


“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere said. “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.” Source: USA Today

This was cross-posted from The Hinterland Gazette.

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • sheknows

    Well, when the brain dead are in control of gun legislation, is anyone surprised that the blind should be armed?

    And I didn’t think it could get anymore insane in this country.

  • ordinarysparrow

    “I know that the American people are weary after a decade of war, even as the war in Iraq has ended, and the war in Afghanistan is winding down,” Obama said in his weekly radio address Saturday. “But we are the United States of America. We cannot turn a blind eye to images like the ones we’ve seen out of Syria.”

    And gosh darn; Nor can we allow a blind eye to go unarmed…

  • ShannonLeee


  • sheknows

    “And gosh darn; nor can we allow a blind eye to go unarmed”. LOL Hilarious OS 🙂

  • JSpencer

    Right you are Shannon. Good grief…

  • DaGoat

    Not sure if this is gun rights out of control, or rights for the disabled out of control. This ties into why I think restricting gun ownership from the mentally ill will be much harder than people think. The rights of the disabled are strongly protected.

  • StockBoyLA

    Haha. Darwin alright…. In a gunfight who would be the better shot? I would lay odds on the not-blind person. And if the not-blind person is the criminal…. then it’s the criminal who survives.

    OS: that’s great!

    Perhaps we should send blind Iowans to Syria to fight.

  • Willwright

    I don’t this is going to be a problem, the guns that will be issued to the blind are going to be radar controlled. Just pull the trigger and everything within range will be mowed down automatically. Much more effective and lethal than the old fashioned point and shoot systems available today for the non-disabled.

  • adelinesdad

    I think the vast majority of legally blind people, like other people, are smart enough to understand their own limitations. Some of them put their lives on the line crossing busy streets using only their hearing and a stick. I think we can give them a little credit for learning their limits and functioning within them. I expect they understand that their weapon, if they choose to own one, is a last resort to be used in extreme circumstances. Also, they probably understand better than anyone how their disability might effect their vulnerability to violent crime, depending on their circumstances. Then there’s the question of those who want to own a gun only for the purpose of using it a shooting range, maybe as an exercise for what remains of their eyesight.

    I’m not saying it’s an easy question. In fact, if the argument were not so trivialized, I could probably be persuaded that restricting access to guns to those who are legally blind is a reasonable measure. But with how the subject is being treated I have to push back. I especially object to the comparison with the severely mentally ill. I’d much rather have a sane, blind person own a gun than an insane one who can see me just fine.

  • JSpencer

    I think the vast majority of legally blind people, like other people, are smart enough to understand their own limitations.

    Unlike politicians.

  • ordinarysparrow

    adelinesdad the attempt at humor was a play on words, based on the quote from Obama, not intended to be disparaging of the physically blind…

    The U.S.A. link that JS shared does a balanced job of pointing to both the rights and concern for the visually impaired gun carrier and concern for protection of others …

  • rudi

    The blind cannot drive in Iowa. If blindness limits driving privileges, it can’t trump 2nd Amendment rights according to Wingnuts…

  • adelinesdad

    ordinarysparrow, yes I think the USAToday article did explore many sides of the issue.

    rudi, it’s a good point but I do think there are some differences:

    1) I can’t think of any way that someone can safely operate a vehicle if they can’t see well. On the other hand, I can think of many ways that a legally blind person can operate a gun safely. At a firing range is one. As a deterrent or collectors item without the intention to use it. As a hunter when accompanied by other responsible people to help. But also I won’t assume that a legally blind person could never identify a threat accurately under any circumstance. And if they act negligently they are liable like any of us.

    2) As far as I know, a legally blind person is allowed to own a car.

    3) Driving is a not a constitutionally protected right. I’m not one who believes owning a gun is an absolute right, but it is a right in some degree, unlike driving.

  • JSpencer

    If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.

    God forbid common sense should enter into this!!!

  • sheknows

    ” Driving is not a constitutionally protected right…..” Oh, this is about the rights of citizens then. Sorry, I thought this was about not allowing people who cannot see to do something which would harm or kill others accidentally if attempted.

  • ordinarysparrow

    This is another issue where those considered far right and far left could meet for very different reasons…

    Left,disability rights…
    Right, gun rights….

    Once again, we are shown that even in politics it is more a circle than linear, for there is one point where initial and ending space holders come back around touch and stands guard,side by side…

    Reminded of my father, an avid hunter and multiple gun owner. He was blind the last ten years of his life. If someone had told him he had the right to walk around carrying a gun those last ten year… I think he would likely still be getting a laugh from it…

  • adelinesdad


    I’m merely pointing out a few differences between owning a gun and driving a car. Even if you believe neither should be done by blind people, my point is that the argument isn’t exactly the same. In the gun case there is the additional hurdle of the constitution.

    I addressed the safety argument in points #1 and #2. Those points are debatable also. My argument is just that the question is not so simple and I do think some of the comments here trivialize the argument and come across as denigrating both the abilities and intelligence of blind people, though I’m sure not intentionally. But that’s just my view.

    So yes, in my view the argument is about both rights and safety. As usually we need to find the right balance between the two.

    OS, I have no doubt that many blind people wouldn’t feel that it is safe for them to own a gun. I don’t want one even with my sight.

  • Oh well, here goes.

    If one accepts the right of Americans generally to “pack heat on the street”, then the reasons may be as legitimate for the blind as for any other person.

    There is a false premise to the arguments above, namely that a gun necessarily includes shooting from a distance. As a weapon of self defense, it can, and perhaps most often would be, a very short range and perhaps point blank range defense in a personal attack. If that is the purpose, the blind could be equally served. This is different from firing down the street at a fleeing purse snatcher.

    Call me lacking in common sense, but I can see the justification if one believes in “packing heat on the street” which I find a questionable assumption generally, whether blind or sighted.

  • ordinarysparrow

    ES, then i ask if one uses the criteria, it would be discrimination, then how come it is acceptable to discriminate mentally ill individuals? How about disorders that would not allow them to hold a gun steady such as Parkinson disease? So you are suggesting visual, or motor impairments would be discriminating of the disabled, but mentally ill would be? Hmmm? Isnt the precedence to discriminate by way of disability already set with mental illness?

    There are many realistic possibilities where a blind person carrying a gun could be assaulted for that gun and not even see it coming…Not just about protecting others, but also the blind individual. Even in a close encounter, who is likely to be the fastest and surest draw?

  • Sparrow,

    You and I are not at odds on this. The central question is the availability of guns generally and the carrying of guns in public places. Reducing the number of firearms, particularly handguns, should be the goal across the board, not just among those with disabilities.

    Unfortunately, our view has not prevailed – yet. We should focus our energies there. My view.

    Btw, I agree that the ease of being able to take a gun from a disabled individual is a serious issue.


  • ordinarysparrow

    thanks ES… thought we were on the same page… 🙂

  • adelinesdad

    Thanks Elijah for sharing your view. I agree with it for the most part, except I’m probably less anti-gun. Irresponsibility is much more dangerous than any physical impairment (yes, including Parkinsons, OS). As long as people are responsible they should understand their own limitations and not act in such a way that puts others at danger. That’s the responsibility of gun ownership that applies to all gun owners, disabled or not.

    Certain severe mental illnesses are a different matter. As I said before, rights and safety must be balanced. My understanding is that the courts have ruled that we can discriminate when their is a compelling interest. If someone is prone to irrational violence and/or doesn’t understand the consequences of his or her actions, then they may not be capable of acting responsibly and therefore should probably be restricted for owning a gun. But even then we need to be careful not to lump anyone with some mental illness into that category.

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