“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads we can’t deny them (a permit) just based on that one thing.” Polk County Sgt. Jana Abens in Iowa grants gun permits to the blind [at usatoday.com]

62 Responses to Quote of the Day: Sight Without Vision Edition

  1. Umm. Does this seem a bit absurd. Especially following the 4 rules. How does a blind person know his target and what’s behind it??? I’m all for not restricting rights, but I’m honestly a bit boggled at how someone who is blind can expect to shoot accurately.

    • I gotta agree. This seems like a bad idea, and what’s more it’s incredibly bad press. How much does something like this undo in terms of correcting the idea that we’re all “gun nuts”. You have someone on the fence who might land on the pro-2a side, run screaming for gun control with this kind of thing.

        • Since >90% of all DGU’s do not involve pulling the trigger, I see no reason why blind people should be denied a corry permit.

        • I have searched and I have found no example of a blind person who shoots well without there being someone there to give him/her audio feedback about the location of his/her target and about his/her shot placement.

    • I argue whole-heartedly for the rights of of visually-impaired and blind individuals to be allowed to carry a firearm.

      In a defensive situation, even the act of brandishing of a firearm could be the difference between a brutal mugging and a would-be criminal running away.

      Being visually impaired can also an explicit vulnerability that a criminally-minded individual could recognize and prey upon. We constantly talk about the “right to defense” here, and if there is ever a case for that, this is it.

      • There can be a significant difference between being “visually impaired” “legally blind”, and being absolutely without vision. You could be qualified as “legally blind” and still have some limited visual acuity which would allow you to identify a threat that was sufficiently close to you.

        My great uncle was legally blind but could still see light and dark, enough that he could tell the black and white keys on the piano and made a good living as a concert pianist. He could easily see the shape of a body in a well-lit room, although he could not accurately identify the person unless they spoke. How would that be a lot different from shooting at a black and white silhouette target?

    • There’s a big difference between stone cold Stevie Wonder type of blind and “legally blind.” A buddy of mine lost an eye to diabetes and the other one was so bad, he got a seeing eye dog. Somehow, though, he did something that very few ever do; regained his eyesight in his remaining eye. His driver’s license still says “legally blind,” even though he’s allowed to drive during the day, And he now carries a gun. He hit the paper often enough to qualify. So there ya go.

  2. It is my understanding that most DGUs (even more so than officer involved shootings) happen at “bad breath” distance, as the editors like to say. What is the problem? The disabled are natural targets for predators, they should be able to defend themselves. Just make sure you don’t get one of those pistols that will not fire when the muzzle is contacting the target.

    • The concern is that a DGU might run something like “pin the bullet on the donkey,” but with somewhat less humor.

      It’s unlikely that those nearby would know to hug the deck, white cane notwithstanding.

      It’s — a thing to ponder.

      • “Pin the bullet on….”
        That was a mouth full of really primo coffee that just landed on my new waterproof ipad cover.

  3. Big deal over nothing. How many blind people are actually going to do this? Other than the one or two that think they will get their name in the news.

  4. I don’t think TTAG as posters or staff have a problem with this, but we many have the feeling that it is odd.

    There are legitimate concerns, to be sure, but that’s not the main issue.

    It’s interesting to note that Iowa with its very strong civil rights record is once again proving that they’re in a whole different universe from New York.

    There is humor here, although it’s tempered by a chunk of “Hmmm.”

  5. A blind person can also purchase a car or motorcycle in every state. So what? It’s operating it that’s the issue. As per the article:

    Iowa is granting permits to acquire or carry guns in public to people who are legally or completely blind.

    Neither action (acquisition or the carrying of a concealed firearm) by a blind person endangers the public.

    • My father-in-law, who has been completely blind nearly his whole life, has been certified by his insurance company as one of the nation’s top 1% of all safe drivers (35 years accident-free!), and has a Certified Safe Driver card to prove it. He gets a big kick out of showing it to people and hearing their reactions.

      Of course he’s had no accidents because he doesn’t drive…much. He actually has driven significant distances before, very slowly, with the direction of someone in the front seat.

      I bet he’d get a kick out of having a concealed-carry license to show people, alongside his top 1% auto safety card.

  6. That would be a hell of a deterrent…. seeing a blind person with a cane and a gun walking down the street, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere nearby

    • In Iowa you have to get you permit to acquire and/or you CCW permit to purchase a pistol and it makes buying a rifle easier. Basically you go to the sheriff’s office they do your background check you pay $10 and your permit is good for the year (ccw is around 50 depending on county and is good for 5years). That way you don’t have to do your background check at the store.

  7. If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.

    Unless that blurry mass says, “I’m going to kill you,” Or is actively pounding your head in to the cement. I doubt that most sighted people are are using more of their vision in a DGU than your average blind person. Case in point: Zimmerman.

    The four rules should still be followed but just as the blind have a different way to pour a glass of water, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Know where you are. City stick to contact shots. Hunting 40 miles from any house, some distance shots might be viable.

    Just as you can’t sever my RKBA, I can’t sever my responsibility to use guns in a safe and legal manner.

  8. “Instead of a seeing eye dog, how about a gun? It’s cheaper than a dog and if you walk around shooting all the time, people are going to get out of the way. Cars too.” – Jack Handey

  9. Blind is not absent of sight. A LEO should be aware of the legal requirements of sight. Legally blind just means they met the requirements to have Handicap status but does not mean they can’t see. If a blind person obtains a concealed permit in Iowa they still have the same legal responsibility a person with unencumbered sight has. Our permit classes are 90% law and liability instruction and 10% gun safety. Its odd too that Polk county was the most upstanding county before the Shall Issue law. They just required you met the standards and pushed it though without any extraordinary review like some sheriffs. Before shall issue we had qualifiers in certain counties on the licenses. For example the carrier’s license is only valid within the hours of business, the person has 500 dollars or more on their person, the license is valid if the person owns and operates a business that conducts the majority of its transactions in cash. Other counties didn’t issue any licenses even though there was not a valid reason to deny them. The sheriff just felt only LEOs should have concealed carrying abilities even going as far as denying firearms instructors the ability to obtain them. You had to be bubba’s brother-in-law to get a license. There are still sheriffs in Iowa who hate the shall issue law. Our county Mounty only issues paper licenses a 4 year old could fake even though his office has a working id card maker while other counties have a DL style permit with photo id and everything. The license will disintegrate in your wallet unless you laminate it. The Iowa sheriffs complaining about the law only have themselves to blame. They brought this on themselves with their ruling class attitudes.

    • +100

      Polk County new generation Demwit Dem is a big gov’t marxist progressive ruling class twit. He is also the moving force for gotcha traffic cam/revenue generators. No surpise he joins with the many dem and Rino Sheriffs that hate concealed carry. And for decades refused to issue permits. The voters/Leg jammed Shall Issue down the throat of these “the sky is going to fall” tools. Like everywhere else, have been NO problems with shall issue. Still can’t get Stand Ground or Castle. Or any class III.

      “Blind” is a WIDE category of less than perfect vision. Doesn’t mean you can’t see anything.

  10. As an Iowan, I don’t feel any less safe with this development. It would be hypocritical for me to deny their right, when I could be moments away from one of a thousand various eyesight-impairing tragedies. I’d have a tough time surrendering my firearms as long as I still had partial eyesight.

  11. After watching some blind people click around an obstacle course. I think I feel much better about them being armed that the majority of permit holders.

  12. No problem with handicapped people having permits to carry (that is the iowa version of CCW)

    Carrying a cane usually means you don’t have enough site to safely drive a car. At bad breath distance that is not so much a worry.

    • How? Why?

      I used to work at a copy shop that was open 24 hours. We had this nice gentleman who would come in at about 3 in the morning and make flyers for his band. We was ‘legally blind’ and walked with the red-tipped cane. The sight of his cane leaning against the copier was always interesting (this was the days before twitter and cellphone cameras so no pix to share). IN spite of being blind he did things with those copiers that I couldn’t get fully-sighted and trained operators to do.

      No, being legally blind does not mean you can’t see.

  13. I see plenty of people at the range who might as well be blind with how badly they shoot. If they can get permits. I have no problem with people who are actually legally blind getting permits.

  14. First of all this is a non issue. I have checked the annuls of crime and have not been able to find one violent crime with a gun committed by a blind person….so much ado about nothing. Secondly, the article talks about Legally blind which means the person can still see somewhat and even if he was completely blind, ones 2nd amendment rights dont end with the loss of sight. Here’s a question for you all to think about:

    Should we take away ones right to vote if they are considered mentally retarded?

    • By the same token, should we not allow a person to perform medical procedures if the person is not a licensed physician? Here’s my solution to the blind person with a gun problem: certainly allow the blind to purchase/own a gun. Fine. But when it comes to carrying one on one’s person, require the blind person to do what I had to do get my CCP, to wit, go to a range and qualify with the weapon, without a spotter. If the person can’t do that, no permit.

  15. I’m amazed how many 2A advocates are really 2A limitists in disguise. Some of you used every cliche in the book except for “blood in the streets.” I’m appalled.

    Nobody knows the limitations of being blind more than the blind. If you’re expecting them to go shooting up the neighborhood, please go join the Brady campaign, because that’s where you belong.

    • I think this is an odd case to hang your hat on regarding rights or restrictions. I don’t like basing policies on very rare circumstances of CCW. If he qualifies for the permit, I’m ok with that. I’m glad he was not denied, and hope he gets some realistic training to mitigate his challenges. As others have said, he may have partial vision despite being legally blind. I myself have carried a loaded gun in total darkness. I have 20/10 in my right eye and just a bit better than 20/20 in my left, and i couldn’t see a damned thing. I’ve also been blinded by muzzle flash before switching to flash – suppressed powders. Who here has not been blinded at one point or another?

      In a home defense situation, he could train family members (if applicable) to say safe words. If he isn’t deaf, he should be able to differentiate people. With a little thinking outside the box, this man could be totally safe wih his defensive firearms. Heck, he might even out shoot NYPD.

      As always, the press wants the most bizarre angle to show how pro gun guys are lunatics. They can’t see – pardon the awful pun – how a blind person could be safe or responsible with a firearm. I say, go for it. If he can get a CCW, more power to him. Freedom is a great thing.

    • I agree. I don’t care if he is 100% blind or not – he should have his gun. After all, he can go buy some fireworks and a pressure cooker. Its about personal responsibility. If he accidentally kills someone he will be responsible and news flash!… I’m sure he already knows this.

  16. If any of you watch Top Gear UK, you may know a blind man set a lap time in the ‘reasonably priced car,’ that wasn’t the slowest lap on the board.

    He had a guy in the passenger seat saying left, right,brake etc.

    • Yeah, so a blind person with a gun should be accompanied by someone who can say stuff like, “Target one is 30 degrees to your left at a range of 5 yards, target two is 0 degrees in front of you at 7 yards…” The companion would also have to provide information about what might or might not be behind each target, that one wouldn’t want to hit. I understand and support 2d Amendment rights, but that doesn’t entail my chucking my common sense down the toilet.

  17. Nobody else thinks it’s at least a little humorous that the gun the blind guy in the picture is holding seems to have some kind of light on it?

    For the record, I’m OK with blind folks owning guns. They’re still expected and required to be safe and responsible with them, just like me, so what’s the problem? Maybe they’re not making 100 yard headshots, but how much sight do you need to jam a snubnose revolver into a mugger’s ribs?

  18. Missing from the discussion is whether or not a gun is the best self-defense tool for a legally blind individual. Pepper spray doesn’t require precise aiming, can be used indiscriminately without concern of seriously hurting or killing others, is easier to use, and is probably a less attractive target for the perp to snatch away.

    I work with and mentor students with disabilities and am a strong advocate for the rights of the disabled. But just because Mr. Magoo has a right to own a gun it doesn’t necessarily make it the best tool for the job of self-defense.

  19. One thing that’s being overlooked both in the Register article and here is that Iowa law requires a CCW permit to carry a taser, long knife, brass knuckles, etc.

    • In iowa its a permit to carry weapons. It doesn’t differentiate on what the weapon is aside from explosives, WMD’s, Full auto (which is bullsh!t) ect.

      • No class 3 or NFA firearms allowed in Iowa, but then there’s no magazine limits and you can carry in a bar as long as you don’t top 0.08%, so it’s not all bad.

  20. I have a brother in law who, over the last 5-6 years, has lost his eyesight to a genetic nerve degeneration.
    He still has his guns. In fact he bought a Judge for home defense. Says he’ll shoot for the noise.
    I’ve no intention of testing that theory. I always knock first.

    Paul

  21. This is a story brought about by the Des Moines Register whose parent company is Gannet which published the CCW holders in New York. Just the same ole anti crap.

  22. Before my recent Lasik surgery ,if I took my glasses off I was “legally blind” 20/200 .

    I was waterskiing,working out at the gym and doing my job fighting fires without my glasses to name a few,so in affect legally blind. Could i read without them well no. Could I function in day today activities ya, if I looked out the window I knew which neighbor was walking by, if the squirrels were running around the yard,or if the grass needed cutting.

    Big deference between blind and legally blind.

  23. Here’s a thought. What happens to ordinary people in the dark? You are blind. Should the law forbid self defense in darkness? Sure you might be able to hear someone smashing your front door in after he cut the power to your house, but what if there’s a basket of puppies right behind him? You gonna hold your fire just in case? Blind people are BETTER aware of what’s around them (provided we’re talking about fixed objects in an enviroment they know) than the rest of us. Sure they should probably not try to intervene in a convenience store robbery, but why not defend their homes? I never met a blind person you could sneak up on, or that couldn’t recognize a person they know.

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