According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Iowa is now issuing permits to blind residents that allow them to purchase and carry guns in public places (read the full article here).
Iowa is clearly taking their state motto, — “Our liberties we prize and our rights we will maintain” — too far. The columnist argues that, “The ability to see should be at least as important as whether one is a minor, a felon, subject to a restraining order, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or a deranged person who asks about the best ammo to use on the demons at a nearby middle school.”
There are programs offering firearms training for the blind, but many would argue that knowing how to handle and operate a gun is simply a supplementary benefit secondary to being able to see what you are aiming at.
An article in USA Today (article can be read here) has cited major players on both sides of the issue. Two main supporters for pro-blind gun ownership include Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington who trains visually impaired people to shoot and Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, who claims that banning blind residents from owning guns would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act. Opposing blind gun ownership is Dubuque County Sheriff Don Vrotsos, who would refuse to issue a gun permit to a blind person.
Pennsylvania has not issued any gun permits to the blind, but PA state laws do not have specific language barring the possibility. Texas, on the other hand, is the only state that not only permits the blind to own guns, but also issues them hunting permits.
In 2008, a blind man from New Jersey had six of his guns confiscated after guns were stolen from his home after he accidentally shot himself in the shin with his .357 Magnum. The man’s alcoholism, not his lack of vision, was cited as the reason for the confiscation but the courts ordered that his guns be returned to him citing his Second Amendment right to bear arms.