World & Nation

Iowa issues gun permits to blind people, report says

Gun range
File photo shows a man firing an AK-47 assault rifle at a shooting range.
(Michael Robinson Chavez / Los Angeles Times)

If you’re blind and living in Iowa, you can’t get a driver’s license -- but you might be able to get a gun.

An interesting report in the Des Moines Register over the weekend delved into an unusual gray area in the state’s gun policies, which have allowed some blind residents to get concealed-carry permits.

Under state law, Iowans must file applications with their local sheriff’s department to get licenses for acquiring handguns and for carrying weapons in public.

The permit to carry weapons requires a handgun-training course -- which can be completed online, the Register reports, allowing blind Iowans leeway to legally carry without passing a shooting test.


Compare that with Iowa’s rules on driving, which require passing a vision test or submitting a vision report from a physician or optometrist to get a driver’s license.

It’s not really clear how many blind Iowans have guns, because officials keep no such records.

“It seems a little strange, but the way the law reads, we can’t deny them [a permit] just based on that one thing,” Sgt. Jana Abens, a spokeswoman for the Polk County sheriff’s office, told the Register.

A debate has ensued over the balance between liberty for all discrimination and public safety. You can read more about it here.



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