Texas lawmaker backs bill to let blind hunt with lasers

December 12, 2006|By Miguel Bustillo | Miguel Bustillo,LOS ANGELES TIMES

HOUSTON -- In this gun-loving state, nearly everyone can enjoy the pleasure of the hunt - even those who can't see what they're shooting at.

But now, a Texas legislator is proposing to give legally blind hunters more of a fighting chance by allowing them to use laser sights to target their prey.

And no, Vice President Dick Cheney is not a beneficiary of the legislation, although plenty of bloggers and amateur comedians are having a good time joking that he is.

Rep. Edmund Kuempel, a Republican from Seguin, east of San Antonio, has introduced a bill to exempt legally blind people from a Texas law that prohibits hunters from using laser sights or lights in hunting.

Visually impaired people are allowed to hunt in Texas, as long as they have a fully sighted person to guide them. The legislation would help them bring down more animals, because the laser points would allow their hunting partners to see where they are aiming, Kuempel said.

"It gets more people in the outdoors and gives them more pride in hunting, because it gives them a better chance of harvesting an animal," said Kuempel, an avid hunter. He noted that roughly 15 states allow blind hunters to use lasers.

Cheney, who wounded a friend during a Texas hunting trip earlier this year, is not known to be a proponent of laser sights. But that has not stopped Lone Star wiseacres from linking him to the legislation.

One popular Texas blog dubbed it "The Dick Cheney No Longer Has An Excuse Bill."

Miguel Bustillo writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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