SD Has No Restrictions For Blind Gun Owners
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
September 09, 2013 5:23 PM
An Iowa gun law has been raising some questions: should a blind person be allowed to carry and conceal a fire arm? According to Iowa laws passed in 2011 there's nothing wrong with it.
But, what about other states, could a South Dakotan who is legally blind be allowed to carry a fire arm?
To carry a concealed weapon requires a license in South Dakota.
But, does the right to bear arms apply to everyone. What if the person holding the gun can't see the target?
In South Dakota vision is not a requirement to carry a gun.
“We don't take physical disabilities into consideration when we issue a permit. If they are legally in a position where they can get one, the law does not prohibit someone or require us to do eye tests,” said Sheriff Mike Milstead.
While it may seem alarming, the Minnehaha County Sheriff says otherwise.
“In reality, I don't think there are a lot of blind people that come to get a permit,” said Milstead.
Lerae Olesen is blind and has been her whole life. She is the president of the South Dakota Association of the Blind and she's all for everyone having the same rights.
“In some situations we're integrated. We try to be integrated into society as much as we can be,” said Olesen.
But, she won't be looking to get a concealed weapon permit anytime soon.
“I have the right to apply for a driver’s license but I'm not going to do that because I wouldn't pass the driving test,” added Olesen.
Is there a law to prevent those with sight issues from obtaining a gun? Not quite.
“Are we going to tell people that have glaucoma or macular degeneration or cataracts that they can't have a concealed carry permit to protect themselves? I think I would struggle with that,” said Milstead.
But, the demand for concealed permits from blind community is virtually non-existent.
“We haven't seen many people with white canes or guide dogs in our line of people that apply daily for a permit,” added Milstead.
In Nebraska the law is a little different. You need to pass an eye exam before obtaining a carry and conceal permit.