When people first heard Carey McWilliams' story several years ago, most did not take it seriously.

"A lot of people thought a blind guy with a gun was a funny story," said McWilliams, who lives in Fargo with his wife, Victoria. "They didn't know the facts or that I've had legitimate training."

In October 2000, McWilliams, now 32, became the first totally blind person in the United States to obtain a concealed weapon permit.

To get his permit, McWilliams took a written test and a shooting test. In March, a bill was passed in North Dakota that eliminated the shooting portion of the test.

McWilliams has training in using firearms. He took shooting courses in college. He said he uses gravity and body positioning to shoot at targets.

"I also use the deflection of sound waves off the muscles along my cheekbones and forehead," he said. "That's referred to as 'facial vision' in the blind community."

He is blind aside from being able to differentiate between light and darkness.

McWilliams said he has been criticized by people who do not think a blind man should be able to have a gun.

"It's as bad as thinking legislation should be based on race or sex," he said.

Porter said he thinks McWilliams and other people with disabilities should be able to have a concealed weapon permit if they pass a background check.

"I don't have a problem with it," he said. "He has just as much right to defend himself and his property as anyone else as long as he passed a background check."

Despite the fact that McWilliams has a collection of many firearms, he said he would only use one on a person if he was in the middle of an attack.

"Being threatened isn't enough," he said. "The person would have to actually be attacking me. Then I would put the gun right up against the attacker's body and fire the gun so I wouldn't hit anyone else."