After a legally blind Georgia man by the name of David Bunch started making his friends nervous by openly carrying a gun, they found out it’s actually legal in Georgia for the blind to own and carry firearms, prompting yet another debate as to whether the blind should be able to own, handle and carry firearms.
It seems obvious. As Bunch’s friend, Eule Stewart said:
I don’t see anybody in their right mind giving a blind man a license to tote a gun in public.
Stewart claims he’s simply concerned for his friend, and others like him, who make the choice to openly carry a gun while blind, believing them to make themselves “easy targets.” As 9ABC points out, “normal vision is considered to be 20/20, while 20/200 is legally blind.” But, Stewart said, Bunch’s vision is not even that good. Stewart told ABC:
‘He says that he can see shadows, pretty much, just shadows and movement.’
But Stewart sees all sorts of problems for his friend who insists on carrying a gun despite his overall lack of vision. For example, Stewart points out that Bunch would never see a “no concealed weapons sign” adding, “He can always get by with, ‘Well, I didn’t see no sign,’ because he can’t see the sign.”
The two friends met playing pool at a Super Bowl party years ago, but now they mostly just run errands together, since Bunch lost his driver’s license.
That’s right, Bunch lost his driver’s license because he can’t see well enough to drive but is still legally able to own and carry a firearm, which only leads one to assume he is also legally able to fire it. That’s how Bunch was able to have Stewart drive him to a gun shop in January, where he picked himself up a 12-gauge shotgun. Stewart said:
‘He asked me what the gun looked like. I said, ‘Well, it’s a nice looking gun. You know, I’d like to have a gun like that.’ And he said, ‘I’ll take that one.’’
But it’s the right of Bunch being able to walk about in public with a gun that has Stewart more nervous than Bunch’s right to own a gun and keep it in his own house.
Stewart asked Bunch, “What’s a blind man need with a pistol?”
Bunch replied, “Just for, like, close range. You jump on me, I’m going to get you off.”
Stewart then pressed Bunch on why he likes to carry his gun in public, asking, “Well, why do you need to tote one to Walmart?”
Bunch then told him he didn’t really do that anymore, since his sight had further diminished.
Stewart told 9ABC:
‘I’ve known him 20 years and I love him, and I don’t want him hurt.’
Another legally blind gun owner in Iowa, Bethany Wethington, can only see as far as 20 feet, but when she goes to the local gun range, she “nails” the target, stating that in her opinion, “it’s all about muscle memory.”
“I’ve grown up around guns,” she said. “I’m completely comfortable with them.”
‘I’m not a threat to society. I’m a law-abiding citizen, and just because I’m legally blind doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have a permit to defend myself.’
Wethington’s father is a local sheriff who taught her how shoot “to be able to protect herself.”
Sheriff Wethington stated:
‘The people who express their opinions that my daughter’s not safe with a gun most likely have never held one, shot one or know anything about one.’
Meanwhile, George’s neighbor South Carolina insists folks have a valid driver’s license in order to obtain a permit, and there are many in Georgia who would like to see their state follow suit.
While blind folks should have just as much right to own a firearm as anyone else, and hence the matter needs to be legal, the debate may be better served around the question as to how to make that safest and the most sensible, not just for those wishing to protect themselves (or their property), but for the general population around them, as well.
Featured image via 9ABC video screen capture.