Guns are a big part of life in Kentucky. Washington Monthly reported that last year, between Jan. 1 and May 31, the FBI conducted more than 1.5 million background checks on Kentuckians seeking to purchase a gun. In a state with 4.4 million people, that is almost one gun registration for every three people that live in the Commonwealth. CBS News ranks Kentucky as the 16th most heavily-armed state, with roughly 60,000 registered firearms, or 13.5 for every 1,000 people. To put that into perspective, Kentucky is only the 26th most populous state or territory in the United States.
Along with gun ownership comes responsibility. Being aware of and following the latest gun laws is not always easy, and we’re here to help. Dan Carman & Attorneys, PLLC, are a network of criminal defense attorneys located across the state of Kentucky. Our attorneys are experienced in firearms laws and can help you navigate the labyrinth of Kentucky law.
As of 2013, The Brady Campaign’s list of most lenient gun laws by state listed Kentucky as eighth in the U.S. However, that by no means suggests that owning a gun in Kentucky is easy. In a constantly changing legal landscape, it helps to have someone that knows and understands the current gun laws.
- The Gun Control Act of 1968 – Enacted prohibitions on the importation of firearms “with no sporting purpose,” but in no way regulates the domestic manufacture or sale of firearms. Among the other major provisions of the GCA were: minimum age for firearms purchasers, all firearms (domestic and imported) to be affixed with a serial number, and the expansion of the categories of prohibited persons.
- The Firearms Owners’ Protection Act of 1986 (McClure-Volkmer Act) — amended the GCA and many restrictions on sellers of firearms, including provisions that legalized sales by licensed dealers away from the location shown on the dealer license if at a “gun show” within the same state; limited the number of inspections of dealers’ premises which could be conducted by the ATF without a search warrant; prevented the federal government from maintaining a central database of firearms dealer records; and loosened the requirement for what constitutes “engaging in the business” of firearms sales for purposes of a federal license.
- The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (The Brady Law) —Law enacted in 1993 requiring a federal background check and a five-day waiting period for handgun purchases. The bill was named after James Brady, Press Secretary under Ronald Reagan, who was injured in John Hinckley’s assassination attempt of the President in 1981.
- The Federal Assault Weapons Ban of 1994 — prohibited the manufacture, transfer and possession of semi-automatic assault weapons and the transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition feeding devices (i.e., devices capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition). The law banned 19 types. The ban expired in 2004.
- The National Instant Criminal Background Check System Improvement Amendments Act of 2007 — provided financial incentives for states to provide to NICS information relevant to whether a person is prohibited from possessing firearms, including the names and other relevant identifying information of persons adjudicated as mentally defective or those committed to mental institutions.
Kentucky law states that it is not necessary to register firearms; and provided age and other requirements are met, it is not necessary to acquire a permit to purchase any sort of firearm. Restrictions to purchase firearms in the state require an individual to be a United States citizen more than 18 years old. According to Gunlaws.com, “Kentucky residents may also purchase firearms from any licensed dealer, manufacturer, or shop in any other state. This also includes a firearms purchase or transaction between individual people or private parties, as long as state and federal laws are followed and observed.”
It is illegal in Kentucky for a convicted felon to possess a firearm or for a child under 18 to possess a handgun. It is also illegal for an individual who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or “involuntarily committed to a mental institution” from owning a firearm.
Concealed Carry Laws
In the state of Kentucky, it is legal to openly carry handguns in any area in which they are not restricted. However, with the exception of law-enforcement officials, service members on active duty and mail carriers when on duty, a gun-owner must have a permit in order to carry a concealed weapon. The Kentucky State Police report that between the beginning of Kentucky’s concealed-carry program in 1996, more than 335,000 concealed carry permits have been issued, 9,800 have been revoked and 8,300 have been denied after background checks found the applicants ineligible.
To be eligible for a concealed-carry permit, an individual must:
- Be 21 years old
- Have been a resident of Kentucky for at least six months
- Be a citizen of The United States
- Have completed a training course conducted by The Department of Justice.
Permits may be denied because of:
- Convictions of crimes punishable by incarceration for a term over one year
- Convictions of domestic violence misdemeanors
- Two or more convictions for driving under the influence of alcohol, drugs, or controlled substances within three years of the date of application
- Owing child support that is greater or equal to the amount to be paid in one-years’ time
- Warrants or subpoenas relating to child support or paternity cases
- Convictions involving assault in the fourth degree or terroristic threatening in the third degree within three years of the application date.
If you or someone you know has been charged with violating a gun law in Kentucky, contact Dan Carman & Attorneys, PLLC at 1-844-KY DEFENSE or go visit our website to set up an appointment and consultation. Our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to help you navigate the legal system and make sure your rights are not taken away from you.