Carrying concealed while blind argument heats up in Iowa

In Iowa, lawmakers and police are now dealing with the unusual question of whether the blind should be allowed to carry concealed firearms:

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.


I don’t think anyone involved wants to disarm the moderately sight-impaired, but a completely blind person with a handgun seems to flagrantly violate at least two of the four rules. If a shooter can’t see to put his weapon’s sights on target, and can’t see what is behind his target, then he likely shouldn’t be firing a gun.

At the same time, the blind have the same moral right to self defense that every person has.

Where do you draw the line?

Join the conversation as a VIP Member