Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Can blind carry guns in public under the ADA

Changes to USA's Americans with Disabilities Act (the state law) in 2011 allowed those with visual impairments to legally carry guns in public. However, there is a debate in Iowa State of USA between the disability advocates and law enforcement officials who are split over whether or not it’s appropriate for those with limited to no vision to have access to firearms.
In other words can  blind can be discriminated from carrying guns in public spaces merely on the ground of disability! 

In Indian context, I can remember the famous epic of  King Prithviraj Chauhan of Rajasthan who fought a brave battle against the foreign invader Muhammad Ghori. Ghori lost the battle 16 times and was given mercy by the Chauhan. However, 17th time a traitor from Chauhan's kingdom supported Ghori's army and that resulted in defeat of Chauhan who was captured and taken to Afghanistan along with his state poet cum friend Chandbhar by Ghori.  In Ghori's court, Prithviraj and Chandbhar were brought in shackles. Prithviraj was asked to show the art of archery, wherein he could aim and shoot just by hearing the sound. It is also known as Shabdbhedi-baan. Ghori asked him to show him this art. To make game interesting for himself, he got Chauhan's eyes pierced with hot iron rods making him completely blind. We all know what happen in end. The blind Prithvi Raj Chauhan killed Ghori in his court and obviously to meet his own death. Grave of Prithvi Raj Chauhan is present till date next to Ghori's grave.

In another epic, Ramayana, the King Dashratha (father of Lord Rama) who was an expert archer in shooting at the hearing of the sound also accidently killed Shravan Kumar by his arrow taking him to be a deer which resulted in Shraap by Shravan's parents that he too would die of Putra Viyog.

This proves sufficiently that with training, it is not difficult for a completely blind person to use fire arms for one's safety. Hence, the debate is useless in light of settled law as well as the above precedence.

Here is the report covered in Disability Scoop.

By SHAUN HEASLEY

September 10, 2013 

A new debate over disability rights is emerging as Iowa grants permits for people who are blind to carry guns.

Changes to state law in 2011 allowed those with visual impairments to legally carry guns in public. And officials in one Iowa county say they’ve issued permits to at least three people who are legally unable to drive because of their limited sight.

“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 of the Polk County sheriff’s office told the Des Moines Register.

The situation is leaving disability advocates and law enforcement officials split over whether or not it’s appropriate for those with limited to no vision to have access to firearms.

Cedar County Sheriff Warren Wethington has a daughter who is legally blind and favors training for those with visual impairments to carry weapons, a stance shared by some advocates who say that denying guns because of a disability would be a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Other law enforcement officials in the state are skeptical, however, and even some advocates say guns may present one area where equal access is unreasonable.

“Although people who are blind can participate fully in nearly all life’s experiences, there are some things, like the operation of a weapon, that may very well be an exception,” Patrick Clancy, superintendent of the Iowa Braille and Sight Saving School, told the newspaper.

Unlike Iowa, some states do consider vision abilities in issuing gun permits. Nebraska and South Carolina require applicants to provide proof of vision, for example. Meanwhile, in Missouri and Minnesota individuals with limited vision may be indirectly disqualified because of requirements to complete a live fire test and hit a target.

Source: Disability Scoop 

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