Should gun permits be granted to blind people? That question is at the center of a debate between some of Iowa's top law officials.
According to published reports, Iowa law doesn't allow sheriffs to deny a permit to carry a gun in public based on physical ability. Some sheriffs have been granting gun permits to people with visual impairments while others have been denying them.
Woodbury County Sheriff Dave Drew says since he took office in January, at least two visually impaired county residents have applied for gun permits. Upon doing so, his department checked with the county attorney's office and the Office of Public Safety on the requirements to insure the department was in compliance only to be told that as long as there is not a disqualifier, the applicants cannot be denied under the American Disabilities Act.
Drew says he has some reservations about granting gun permits to the blind. "My concern maybe isn't as far as those that have a disability like being visually impaired. I have concerns about never having to qualify or understand how to use your firearm with proficiency," he said.
Drew, who is an advocate of the second amendment, says lawmakers may need to tweak the existing law. But until they do, he says people who are visually impaired but meet the criteria for carrying a gun in public may do so.
Drew also notes that while some people's vision may be impaired, perhaps their other senses are more acute than the average person which may help compensate for their visual shortcomings.
Some other states, including Nebraska, require anyone applying for a gun permit to provide proof of their visual ability by supplying a driver's license or doctor's statement.
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