Feature Writer John Christie – Should Blind People Really Be Able To Own a Gun: You Decide

Recently, Iowa granted a permit so that blind people could carry a gun. Michael Barber, who is blind, took advantage of this by buying a gun at the Bass Pro Shop located in Altoona. He did this with the assistance of his wife Kim. Both the Barbers plan to have passed a safety course and plan to practice with the gun on a shooting range. The Barbers don’t think that eye sight is necessary to shoot a gun.

Many people feel that it is important to own a gun because they feel it protects them from crime and they feel they have a right to own a gun because of the right to bear arms under the U.S. Constitution.

Although these cases are rare, blind people have run in to trouble in the past decade with regards to owning a gun. For instance, there was a high profile case five years ago in New Jersey where a blind man named Steven Hopler shot himself in the leg. Police confiscated his guns. There were other incidences with him which involved alcohol and guns. However, a judge ruled that in spite of Hopler’s disability and alcoholism he has the right to bear arms.

In another case in Kentucky, Carolyn Ann Key was fined $100 for carrying a gun in to the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. She had to temporarily surrender her gun and permit. She was unaware of signs in the center prohibiting her from carrying a gun. Kentucky laws don’t specifically restrict blind people from obtaining weapons permits but they do have to take a test and hit a human target 11 times out of 20 at a distance of 21 feet.

Having a blind person be able to get a permit to own a gun makes as much sense as giving a blind person a license to drive. Society has to go back to a simpler time when the issue of blind people owning a gun never came to the lead story in a newscast.

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