Here is a puzzling headline that reads like something from The Onion, but is actually a real, polarizing issue going on in the state of Iowa.
Officials in the Hawkeye state are granting permits to acquire or carry guns to people who are legally or completely blind. This comes as quite a surprise to the general public, who is probably of the belief that blind people aren’t the people you want carrying guns around.
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.
On one side: People such as Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington, who demonstrated for The Des Moines Register how blind people can be taught to shoot guns. And Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who says blocking visually impaired people from the right to obtain weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. That federal law generally prohibits different treatment based on disabilities
On the other side: People such as Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos, who said he wouldn’t issue a permit to someone who is blind. And Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, who says guns may be a rare exception to his philosophy that blind people can participate fully in life.
This is a tough one. Legally, blind people have every right to carry a gun like a normal, visually active citizen. On the other hand, why would a blind person even want a gun? I can’t imagine a dangerous situation being diffused be a blind gun-slinging vigilante.
Even the guy whose entire life philosophy is based around the belief that “blind people can do anything a regular person can do” is like, “Well, uh, maybe not everything.”
Of course, we’ve seen blind people do miraculous things before:
I hope this debate is still active when the presidential candidates roll into Iowa this summer. I can’t wait to see how they handle it..
Image via YouTube