Thursday, May 20, 2021

Minnesota turns down Application for Concealed Carry Permit by Carey McWilliams - Violation of ADA?

Image from Carey McWilliams, by permission

Carey McWilliams is a gun owner, a successful small and big game hunter, with 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). 

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 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 Carry 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

§ 35.139 Direct threat.

(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 limitation when it pertains to using firearms in self defense. 

Carey McWilliams 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 God speed 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" .

©2021 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice and link are included.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was drafted August 8,1967. I have been blind in my left eye since birth do to an uncorrectable birth defect of a short optic nerve and a deformed retina in my left eye. I hit every 500 yard target with open sights. I was the only one in my basic training unit to qualify expert with the M-14. I have been wearing glasses since I was three and a half years old. I asked for a proper eye exam at the induction center and was refused. See that marine with the rifle over there he has live ammunition and orders to shoot any one that tries to leave get in line and take your oath. I asked for a proper eye exam at Fort Bliss my basic training unit and was refused. All of my life I was told I could never get into the military because of my eyes and I get drafted. It would have caused a lot of trouble if I had taken the rifle away from that marines and shoved it up his ass. At that time I curled a 135 pound bar in one hand. Now the VA claims my eye must have been damaged after discharge. I still have the left eye with the deformed retina and the short optic nerve and I still cant get the VA to document it. So I had a civilian eye doctor document it. The Phoenix VA regional office recover the documents that prove I have recurring malaria and sent me a letter telling me they recovered the documents but they lost the documents after they were recovered so there is no proof that I have recurring malaria. The remand is at the Board of veterans appeals right now. The VA owes me 42 years back pay according to their regulations for a disability rating of 130%. right elbow, both shoulders and recurring malaria. The reason for denying my claims. You filed false claims. My DD-214 states all of my duty stations I served in Vietnam and Germany. The Phoenix regional office cant read a DD-214 because it is there opinion I could not have served in Vietnam and Germany. My first child was born in the military hospital in Heidelberg and is now 51. I have an original copy of the TDY transfer orders to Germany. The Phoenix Regional office never asked for any proof it was their opinion that denied my benefits. I think the BVA is hoping I die before they have to settle my claims. Awards are tax free.