Ohio court reverses Portage Co. sheriff's denial of concealed handgun license to "legally blind" gun owner

On December 22, 2015, the Portgage County Court of Common Pleas reversed the decision of Sheriff David Doak to deny a concealed handgun license (CHL) application because the applicant is disabled by being visually impared.

According to the ruling, the plaintiff, William Robinson, IV filed an application with the sheriff for a CHL. He acknowledged that he was legally blind, and the sheriff denied his application. Robinson followed the appeals process and brought his case before the county Court of Common Pleas.

At the hearing the court heard testimony that while Robinson is "legally blind," he has some vision, and his peripheral vision is much better than his central vision. The court was informed that the condition is congenital, and, "nonprogressive, which means it will not change.

The court was further informed that Robinson has spent time at the shooting range with his parents, both of whom have CHLs. As a Boy Scout in the mid-1990's, he shot 12 gauge shotguns with the Troop. The only activity he cannot legally do is drive.

Robinson took a two-day CHL class. He answered 49 out of 50 on his written exam. On the range, Robinson fired over 200 rounds at distances from 3 feet to 20 feet. The court was informed he hit the 18" centered targets at about 80% of the time. The instructor fully "passed" Robinson on all issued required for a concealed handgun license.

Nevertheless, after the sheriff reviewed his application and understood that Robinson is "legally blind," he denied the application.

In its decision, the Court noted that the standard of "legally blind" was created by the U.S. Social Security Administration for its requirements, and that it does not mean that a person cannot see. The Court noted that at his hearing, Robinson viewed documents very closely with his central vision, and farther away with his peripheral vision, and that "as the testimony and exhibits at the hearing clearly express, that Plaintiff is able to use handguns in a responsible way."

The Court concluded that "the reliable, probative, and substantial evidence at hearing has established Plaintiff's ability to use handguns properly, to see targets at distances, and hit the targets."

The Court further concluded that "upon review and consideration of the testimony of the witnesses, motions, pleadings and exhibits herein, the Magistrate concludes that the sheriff's denial of Plaintiff's application is not well taken.

"It is therefore ordered that the decision of defendant Portage County Sheriff be and is hereby reversed, and Plaintiff William Robinson, IV, shall be granted a license to carry a concealed handgun under R.C. 2923.125, and Defendant Portgage County Sheriff shall forthwith issue said license..."

The sheriff was also ordered to pay the court costs.

Buckeye Firearms Association welcomes Mr. Robinson to the ranks of nearly one half million Ohioans who have obtained their concealed handgun licenses!

Chad D. Baus is the Buckeye Firearms Association Secretary, BFA PAC Vice Chairman, and an NRA-certified firearms instructor. He is the editor of BuckeyeFirearms.org, which received the Outdoor Writers of Ohio 2013 Supporting Member Award for Best Website.

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