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article imageNext on the NRA agenda: Firearms for the blind

By Martin Laine     Aug 6, 2014 in Politics
In a video posted on the National Rifle Association’s news website, an NRA commentator asserts that blind people should be allowed to carry any kind of firearm as a constitutional right.
“Every law-abiding, blind individual should be able to have whatever guns they want,” said Dom Raso, an NRS news commentator and self-described “veteran U.S. Navy Seal.”
The NRA has not yet officially commented on the video, which carried a brief disclaimer — as with other videos — that the views expressed are the commentator’s, and not those “of any other organization.”
“Do you think because they’re blind that they’re going to start shooting in every direction and kill everyone? Fact is, it’s been proven that people that lack vision have an increased awareness of their hearing and spatial surroundings,” he says.
The issue erupted into a public debate last year in Iowa when it was decided that under Iowa law, a visually-impaired person could not be denied a gun permit, according to an article in The Guardian.
“The fact that you can’t drive a car doesn’t mean you can’t go to a shooting range and see a target,” said Jane Hudson of Disability Rights of Iowa.
Several states require proof of visual ability by producing a driver’s license.
In Ramso’s video, he’s not talking about target shooting. He’s talking about using the weapon for self-defense.
“Do you think you need to see where you are shooting if somebody is on top of you trying to kill or rape you? … I don’t think so,” he says.
In Iowa, some law enforcement officials and even some advocates for the blind have their doubts.
“Although people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all life’s experiences,” said Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight-Saving School. “There are some things, like the operation of a weapon, that may very well be an exception.”
Delaware County Sheriff John LeClerc was skeptical.
“If you see nothing but a blurry mass in front of you, then I would say you probably shouldn’t be shooting at something,” said.
Sheriff Warren of Cedar County disagreed.
“If sheriffs spent more time trying to keep guns out of criminals’ hands and not people with disabilities, their time would be more productive,” he said.
Sheriff Warren’s legally blind daughter plans to apply for a gun permit as soon as she turns 21.
More about NRA, Dom Ramso, Visually impaired
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