In a new video by the National Rifle Association, a spokesman defends the right for people who are blind to arm themselves in public despite not being able to see.
“Every law abiding, blind individual should be able to have whatever guns they want. And if you disagree with that statement or you haven’t thought it all the way through, you don’t take your rights seriously enough,” says Dom Raso, an NRA News commentator, in the video posted to YouTube.
While the NRA News commentators aren’t officially speaking on behalf of the NRA, they are paid to discuss related topics and share perspectives based on their professional or personal background. Raso, for example, speaks as a gun owner and former U.S. Navy SEAL.
“Do you think because they’re blind that they’re going to start shooting in every direction and kill everyone? Fact is that it’s been proven that people that lack vision have an increased awareness of their hearing and spatial surroundings,” Raso continues. “The biggest concern I hear is having blind people carrying in public. Are you envisioning a person waiving a gun around or pointing it at somebody for no reason? Because that’s what it sounds like.”
Raso explains his reasoning by saying if an authority figure can deny gun rights to a person just because he or she is blind, then they could take them away for some other disability as well.
“They could take rights away if you’re missing an arm or a leg,” Raso told Guns.com.
His video is a response to a “knee-jerk” reaction by some Iowan sheriffs who last year said they would not grant carry permits to blind people despite lawmakers expanding carry practices in 2011, when Iowa became a shall-issue state.
The question was raised by The Des Moines Register in its investigation exploring the legal and ethical boundaries of the law. The newspaper interviewed state law enforcement and lawmakers on whether or not granting carry permits to the blind would be a public safety concern. The results were split.
The investigation also points out there is no federal law requiring “sight” as a requirement to own a gun, but there are however some states that indirectly deny people who are blind from obtaining a gun and/or carry permit.
Although Raso responds to comments made almost a year ago, he told Guns.com that the video was done a while ago, but it’s a topic he feels strongly about due to a personal connection.
“My mother was blind, but she was extremely proficient in using a firearm,” he said.
Do you think “seeing” should be a requirement for owning a gun or carry permit? Tell us what you think?