U.S.A. –-(AmmoLand.com)- Carey McWilliams is a gun owner, a successful small and big game hunter, holding concealed carry permits for 20 years. He has been turned down for a Minnesota permit because he is blind. He has applied for a second time.
It is blatant discrimination based on a disability. It probably violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Update: The Minnesota Sheriff, confronted with the evidence, and with the possibility of an ADA lawsuit, has issued Carey a Minnesota Carry permit.
The initial thought of blind people carrying firearms causes many to do a double-take. Consider the concept more closely and you will see it makes perfect sense. Blind people do not give up their rights simply because they are blind.
Many states do not discriminate against blind people who apply for concealed carry permits. If there are states which discriminate against blind people who apply to simply own a firearm, they are few and poorly documented.
It is every American’s right to keep and bear arms, as affirmed by the Second Amendment and numerous state constitutional amendments.
Carey has written books on how the blind can safely use firearms.
Everyone has limitations on how effectively and safely they can utilize weapons for self-defense, hunting, or recreation. Some people cannot hold a weapon very steadily. Some cannot handle the recoil. Some cannot hear well. Some do not have fast reaction times.
Some people cannot see. That does not mean they cannot use a firearm for self-defense. From personal correspondence with Carey McWilliams, in May of 2021:
The second part of the 2006 Minnesota denile was the same issue they are trying to use now, namely that because of blindness I pose a danger to myslef and others do the same thing that I have done for decades now.
To this, I point out that I being blind am not subject to furtive action concerns, have to use my gun at contact ranges to insure the legal requirements of target identification and need. And for the objects beyond, unless you have x-ray vision to see through perps, always have things well-lit, never get spun around, and every bullet fired will never be deflected after being fired, Checking is really more for target shooting and or hunting. Tooler says you have seconds to check shots and aim like at the range and my legal range is pointblank and other CQC types of actions. There is also an extra safety built-in which is that my hearing is on the line, so will not shoot unless no other choice.
Well, the mountains of permits and training certificates are in the sheriff’s hands for reconsideration of the denile. This should take 20 business days before a court hearing is needed. I hope that the system there will issue the permit as the over 20 years of CCW experance is far more than most CCW holders over there have.
If a public entity denies participation to a person with a disability, the ADA puts the burden on showing the person can not be accommodated on the public entity. From ada.gov:
(a) This part does not require a public entity to permit an individual to participate in or benefit from the services, programs, or activities of that public entity when that individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others.
(b) In determining whether an individual poses a direct threat to the health or safety of others, a public entity must make an individualized assessment, based on reasonable judgment that relies on current medical knowledge or on the best available objective evidence, to ascertain: the nature, duration, and severity of the risk; the probability that the potential injury will actually occur; and whether reasonable modifications of policies, practices, or procedures or the provision of auxiliary aids or services will mitigate the risk.
It seems clear to me that Carey McWilliams has shown he is very responsible with firearms, and not a threat to public safety.
Everyone has limitations when it pertains to using firearms in self-defense.
Carey McWilliams’s limitations are different from yours or mine. It does not mean he cannot overcome them and be effective.
Legally blind people have effectively defended themselves with firearms. Just because you are blind does not mean you have given up your Constitutional rights.
I have known Carey McWilliams for a few years now. I know many other people who are not blind, who can obtain concealed carry permits. Carry ranks in the top tier for preparation, diligence, and responsibility. I wish him Godspeed in obtaining his Minnesota permit.
There are now 20 Constitutional Carry states where blind people do not need permits to exercise their Second Amendment rights.
There have not been any problems in any of them. It would be front-page news if there had been.
All of us have limitations of one kind or another, be they physical, such as sight, hearing (many shooters), strength, agility, or reaction time; or mental such as memory, quickness of thought, speech, or emotional or rational intelligence.
All these limitations can be overcome.
Carey McWilliams has done an amazing job of understanding and overcoming his limitations.
As a famous character in a movie once said: “a man has to know his limitations”.
About Dean Weingarten:
Dean Weingarten has been a peace officer, a military officer, was on the University of Wisconsin Pistol Team for four years, and was first certified to teach firearms safety in 1973. He taught the Arizona concealed carry course for fifteen years until the goal of Constitutional Carry was attained. He has degrees in meteorology and mining engineering, and retired from the Department of Defense after a 30 year career in Army Research, Development, Testing, and Evaluation.