Legally blind and completely blind Iowans can obtain permits to carry guns in public due to a 2011 adjustment to state law banning sheriffs from denying permits based on physical ability, the Des Moines Register reported Sunday.
Polk County officials have issued weapons permits to at least three people who “can’t legally drive and were unable to read the application forms or had difficulty doing so because of visual impairments,” according to the Register. Sheriffs in three other counties told the newspaper they’ve done the same.
“I’m not an expert in vision,” Delaware county Sheriff John LeClere told the Register. “At what point do vision problems have a detrimental effect to fire a firearm? If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting something.”
But Jane Hudson, executive director of Disability Rights Iowa, said excluding the blind from weapon permits would violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Register reported.
Special training for blind permit holders is on the table in at least one Iowa county, where the sheriff, whose legally blind daughter plans to obtain a permit, demonstrated a practice shooting session for the Register.