Shooting blind

When I first saw this report (mentioned on Little Green Footballs) I thought it was an attempt at humor:

Iowa Debates Permitting Blind People to Carry Guns in Public

It’s not funny; it’s real. From Think Progress:

As lawmakers across the country debate gun safety laws, law enforcement officials in Iowa are split on whether the state should continue issuing guns to blind people. So far the state has already issued several such permits, though it has not tracked how many.

So, I am not going to Iowa if I can help it. If I absolutely have to go, I’m getting a bullet proof vest and the quietest shoes money can buy.

Is there a rationale for this apparent madness? Here it is:

Advocates for the permits make a strong legal case. Refusing to issue permits to people with visual impairments could very well violate the Americans with Disabilities Act, which prohibits people with disabilities from being treated differently under the law. Likewise, unlike driving, which is considered a privilege, gun ownership is generally understood to be a constitutional right, making it difficult to impose limitations on it. In Iowa, people with visual impairments are already allowed to own guns privately, so the question at hand is whether there is a different safety concern when it comes to letting them carry guns in public.

The law of unintended consequences in evidence again. Because bearing arms is a constitutional right – not a privilege – the law prevents discriminatory treatment. (I am hoping that this tabloid summary is wrong and there is a safety net somewhere in the law.)

But seriously, is there a different safety concern when carrying guns in public? Hello. Planet Earth calling. What planet are you on? Madness. Utter madness.

How persuaded are you that this makes sense and is right? Try this:

The National Federation of the Blind generally opposes vision-related restrictions, because as its director of public relations Chris Danielsen points out, “presumably [blind people] are going to have enough sense not to use a weapon in a situation where they would endanger other people, just like we would expect other people to have that common sense.”

Presumably? That’s some presumption – possible a life changing one.

In a nutshell, it’s a combination of unrestrained political correctness, and the strength of the gun lobby. It’s a mad, mad, mad world.