Should a man who is legally blind and has accidentally shot himself in the shin be able to own firearms? Prosecutors in Morris County New Jersey are moving to revoke the gun rights of Steven Holper, who has been blind for most of his adult life. But they can't legally take away his weapons because he can't see, so according to the Times, authorities are attempting to use a 2003 disorderly conduct conviction to prove that Holper is an alcoholic, and therefore shouldn't be permitted to possess a firearm. Justice may be blind, but is she also a little tipsy?
Holper fought to receive a permit in 1993, and a judge granted him the right but only if he didn't load or shoot the guns. "I didn't think that a blind person would be able to load and fire a weapon," Holper said at the time. "Of course not. That would be dangerous." But a little danger is like having a few Pringles: you simply need more. He eventually gained the right to shoot his guns if a trained assistant was with him, and he used a remote-controlled bell to locate the target.
In 2008, Holper accidentally shot himself in the shin with a .357 magnum. While he was in the hospital, a burglar stole several of his guns, one of which was later used in a suicide in Passaic. Authorities who searched his house found "one loaded pistol in an oven mitt and another gun tucked under a sofa cushion." The police confiscated several of those weapons and a judge ordered Holper to complete a safety course, which makes sense because nothing matches the expertise of a trained instructor when learning to not store firearms in oven mitts.
The state points to a 2003 incident in which Holper had to be removed from a bar because he was intoxicated as reason enough to prevent him from having a permit to carry firearms, an incident his attorney calls "isolated and minor." Holper refused to comment to a reporter, and his hearing resumes next month. We're pretty sure what Charlton Heston meant was that you can't pry it from his warm, soft, couch cushions.