Published May 12, 2012
A blind firearms enthusiast can have his gun collection back, a New Jersey judge ruled Friday, in the latest development of what has become an ongoing Second Amendment rights saga.
A prosecutor's office had asked a judge to revoke Steve Hopler's gun permit and seize all guns in his possession arguing that Hopler abused alcohol and posed a danger to others, NJ.com reports.
But the troubles allegedly first started back in 1994 when police revoked his permit after learning he was blind. Hope, now 49, won an appeal to get the permit back with a stipulation; Hope can only fire a weapon under the supervision of a trained adult, NJ.com reports.
"First it was, 'He can't own guns because he's blind.' Now they tried, 'you're a habitual drunkard and we think it’s improper because you're a habitual drunkard,'" Hope's attorney, referring to a 2004 incident in which he was convicted of being unruly in a bar, told NJ.com.
The most recent debacle stems from a 2008 incident when Hopler accidentally shot himself in the shin while cleaning one of his guns. While hospitalized, his ex-tenant broke into his apartment and stole guns from his apartment, and one was found to be used in a suicide, NJ.com reports.
Hopler became legally blind in 1991 as a result of diabetes, the news station reports.
"He's always enjoyed collecting. When he lost his sight it was just a continuation not what he'd done his whole life," his attorney said. "It's a hobby and you know what? It’s his right."