Should the Blind Own Guns?
by Bob Branco
(Originally published in Matilda Ziegler Magazine, 2013)
Should a blind person own a gun? This question has been getting a lot of attention since the state of Iowa decided to consider giving its blind residents gun permits.
There have been mixed reactions among the people that I have spoken with since this news broke. To begin with, there is a concern for our safety as blind people, especially if we can’t respond fast enough to someone else’s gun, or given that we may not know whom we’re shooting at. On the other hand, many blind people are quite capable of defending themselves. And furthermore, our Constitution gives all Americans, including the blind, the right to bear arms. We are Americans, too, so how would we feel if any of our Constitutional rights were violated? We advocate for our rights every day of our lives, and if we don’t know how, we find others to do the advocating for us.
The point is, how do we look at both sides of this gun issue? For example, should a test be given to a blind person who wants a gun? Should we have faith that every blind person who asks for a gun permit will be as safe as any sighted person? The authors of our Constitution had faith, otherwise I would have to believe that they didn’t consider the blind at all when creating the Bill of Rights, thinking that the blind would never want or need a gun.
I would like to put the issue into perspective this way. Was Iowa being creative and proactive, or did Iowa finally decide to meet an obligation to our Constitution that it should have met a long time ago?
Let’s face it. No matter how uncomfortable some of us feel about blind people owning guns, the Constitution allows it based on the rights that it established.
Are the other states ignoring the possibility of allowing the blind to have gun permits because their legislators are worried, or are they simply practicing discrimination, not realizing what our Constitution says about all Americans?
These are all good questions, and I think this is a healthy debate. Your thoughts are welcome, as always. My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
This essay was taken from my selfpublished book, “Weighing Things Up; Essays on Trends, Technology and Present-Day Society.” For more information about this and any of my other books, go to www.dldbooks.com/robertbranco/