Shooting Blind

knirirr was kind enough to ask my opinion about the news that the state of Iowa allows the blind to successfully apply for a license to carry a concealed firearm.

blind man on his way to work

Can this possibly be true?  Those completely without sight allowed by the state government to carry ranged weapons for their defense?

At first, I wasn’t too keen on the idea myself.  And then I read about Warren Wethington, the sheriff of Cedar County in Iowa.

Sheriff Wethington points out that the word “blind” is applied to people who still have the power of sight, just not at the level considered average.  Under normal lighting levels, many of them have the ability to make out shapes within ten feet, and determine whether or not it is a threat.  This is similar to the ability that those who enjoy average sight have in low light or foggy conditions.

And yet, even though the ability to see what is around them deteriorates when the lights go dim, no one is suggesting that those with average sight should disarm when the Sun goes down.  So why should anyone demand that the visually impaired be denied the ability to defend themselves?

One of the reasons that I defer to Sheriff Wethington’s opinion in this matter is due to the fact that his daughter is visually impaired, and he taught her how to safely and effectively use firearms for her own defense.

sheriff wthington with his daughter 1

(Picture source.)

sheriff wthington with his daughter 2

(Picture source.)

One of the reasons why someone might ask my thoughts on this matter is because I am a firearms instructor who specializes in teaching the handicapped safe firearm use.  But, even so, I will be the first to say that I am not qualified to have an opinion.  This is because I have never had a student who was visually impaired to ay significant degree.  Since Sheriff Wethington has been there and done that, we should listen to what he has to say.

(For more background and information, I strongly suggest this excellent article at


4 thoughts on “Shooting Blind

  1. Interesting article.

    As an aside I am well aware of the distinction between being legally defined as blind and not being able to see anything at all; the chap who taught me LARP sword fighting using steel weapons is “blind.”

    He says he did tell me he was “blind” BEFORE he started swinging large bits of steel in my direction, but . . .

  2. Thanks for bringing this up.
    I wonder how much crossover there might be between shooting techniques for the blind and grappling/CQC, and whether anyone has formalised any sort of tuition.
    Do you know what you would do if approached for instruction by a blind student?

  3. I too am legally blind without my glasses. I barely fit the definition but I am. You just made me realize I actually need to practice without my glasses to see just how I do.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *