Iowa grants guns permits to the blind

Iowa grants gun permits to legally blind individuals, and allows them to carry guns in public.
By KRISTEN BUTLER,  |  Sept. 9, 2013 at 1:33 PM
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Under Iowa state law, denying any Iowan the right to own and carry guns based on physical ability would be illegal, and some are concerned about gun permits issued to legally blind individuals.

The permits allow legally blind applicants to purchase weapons and carry them in public. Iowans have always been able to own and carry a firearm in private, but a 2011 law extended the right to carry to public spaces while placing no limits on physical ability.

Local sheriffs tasked with reviewing gun permit applications are divided on the issue.

"If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn't be shooting something," said Delaware County Sheriff John LeClere.

But Counters Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington has a legally blind daughter, and he believes that "if sheriffs spent more time trying to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and not people with disabilities, their time would be more productive."

"When you shoot a gun, you take it out and point and shoot, and I don't necessarily think eyesight is necessary," said Michael Barber, a blind man interviewed in an Iowa gun store last month.

Federal law does nothing to limit legally blind persons from owning or carrying guns, leaving states to address the issue or not.

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