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Can a Blind Person Get a Handgun License in Indiana?

In a word, yes. Indiana law is clear that if it appears to the Indiana State Police that a person has a proper reason for carrying a gun, is of good character and reputation, is a proper person to be licensed, and is a citizen or a qualifying non-citizen, then the superintendent "shall" issue the applicant a license. I.C. 35-47-2-3(e).

A "proper person" under the statute means any person who does not have a disqualifying conviction (or juvenile adjudication) and has not had their rights restored, is not prohibited by a court order from possessing a gun, does not have a record of alcohol or drug abuse, does not have documented evidence that would give rise to a reasonable belief that a person has propensity for violent or emotionally unstable conduct, does not make a false statement of material fact on the person's application, does not have a conviction for any crime involving the inability to safely handle a handgun, has not been involuntarily committed or the subject of a statutory commitment or have been found incompetent to stand trial, insane, or mentally ill by a court. See generally I.C. 35-47-1-7.

In short, there is nothing in the statute that disqualifies a blind or visually-impaired person from applying for and receiving a handgun license. In fact, if he or she qualifies, the statute seems to be clear that the superintendent "shall" give that individual a permit.

While there appears to be no binding case in Indiana that addresses this issue, other states have addressed it. Iowa grants handgun permits to the blind and visually impaired. See http://www.usatoday.com ("Iowa Grants Gun Permits to the Blind" by Jason Clayworth on September 8, 2013, last visited February 1, 2014). However, Nebraska and South Carolina require proof of vision before a handgun permit issued. Nebraska Revised Statute § 69-2433 and South Carolina Section 23-31-215. Nonetheless, whether visually impaired or not, individuals who possess or handle firearms are required to do so responsibly and are subject to various criminal and civil penalties if they do not. See, e.g., I.C. 35-42 et seq.

If you have questions or concerns about firearms or handgun-related legal issues, or if you are seeking a handgun license, contact Keffer Barnhart LLP today at 1-800-NOT GUILTY or (317) 857-0160.