Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images
A controversial Iowa state law prohibits denying the right to carry a gun based on physical ability, including blindness. To do otherwise, supporters claim, is illegal discrimination based on disability. But in the meantime, here’s what supporters and opponents are saying.
“Although people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all life’s experiences, there are some things, like the operation of a weapon, that may very well be an exception,” said Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, to the DeMoines Register.
“We don’t believe there should be a blanket prohibition on blind people owning or carrying guns,” Chris Danielsen, spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, told ABCNews.com. “It’s certainly true that the blind person or visually impaired person needs to be cautious about using a firearm, but so does everybody else.”
“A visually impaired person, in my opinion, is more entitled for a permit to carry, just for the sheer fact that they don’t pick up on the cues that a sighted person would have,” Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who has been granting gun permits to the visually impaired since he became sheriff in 2007, told ABCNews.com. Wethington has a daughter who is legally blind. “People with disabilities are just as much citizens as you and I are. Just because they can’t see doesn’t mean we should be able to pick and choose what rights they enjoy.”