A New Hampshire non-profit organization recently put guns in the hands of the blind.
The privately funded Northeast Passage group says it strives to provide environments where “individuals with disabilities can enjoy recreation with the same freedom of choice, quality of life, and independence as their non-disabled peers,” according to their website.
Last month, the group lived up to that promise when they took a team of visually-impaired persons to a gun range in Barrington and allowed them to unload on shooting targets.
“I am a person that uses a wheelchair, why do I want to go skiing? I don’t use my legs, why would I want to go skiing?” Northeast Passage instructor Chandler Bullard asked New England Cable News. “Because I can, because they can,” he says.
At age 16, Bullard suffered injuries stemming from a car accident which left him paralyzed from the waist down. Now he’s applying what he gleaned from his own experience to help others learn that neither life, nor gun rights stop when you become disabled.
The clinic’s disabled participants were excited to try something new. They learned about the various gun parts by feeling them with their hands, and Bullard safely guided their aim downrange when they were ready to fire.
“It was empowering,” recalled Portsmouth resident Stephanie Hurd, adding that blind people “might do things differently, but we can do most everything everyone else can.”
Last year, outrage was sparked after the passage of an Iowa law which allowed blind people to obtain concealed carry permits, enabling them to legally possess firearms, leading blind people to stand up for their Second Amendment rights.
“The Second Amendment does not say we have the right to bear arms unless we’re disabled. I should be able to protect my family just like you can, just like anyone else can,” visually impaired Iowa resident Michael Barber told Fox News regarding the controversy.
While some states, such as Michigan, Wisconsin and Texas, allow blind persons to hunt with a sighted companion, there are no restrictions on gun ownership in the “live free or die” state of New Hampshire, providing a wider range of activities for Northeast Passage to explore.
“Take on new adventures, you never know how much you might enjoy something new,” gun clinic participant Dana Trahan encouraged. “Don’t let anything stop you.”