Pro-Gun and Anti-Gun Bills Face Off in Kentucky

Repealing gun-free zones stands a good chance, while an assault weapons ban doesn't

Published Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Director of Training at the Open Range Sports store teaches concealed carry classes and keeps track of gun legislation in the state. His classes include a segment on where Kentuckians can legally carry and gun-free zones where they can't, but he and many others are hoping that soon that part of the class might just become a lot shorter. Elsewhere in the state, Democrats are trying the usual tactic of trying to ban common firearms that has worked so well in much less gun-friendly places.

Representative Robert Goforth from East Bernstadt has proposed House Bill 30, which would still ban weapons in airports or judicial and law enforcement places like courtrooms and prisons, but permit holders would still be allowed to carry just about anywhere else. His bill would terminate most of the current list of gun free zones in the concealed carry law, including colleges and universities - effectively legalizing campus carry at the same time. Although it also removes the ban on carrying in bars and schools, it leaves in place a restriction that anyone carrying in those places must still have a concealed carry permit, whether carried openly or not. Carrying on the grounds of these buildings would not have that restriction.

Meanwhile, Rep. George Brown, a Democrat from Lexington, has put forth House Bill 76 to place additional restrictions on gun possession and sales, with a particular emphasis on high-capacity weapons. "Quasi-weapons of war and mass destruction, I don't think we need them on our streets," Brown said, and added, "I think that we need to look at the types of weapons that people are purchasing and maybe outlawing some of those."

Both bills, having recently been introduced, have been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Neither has been scheduled for a hearing, but that should come soon. The Kentucky General Assembly is roughly 2 to 1 Republican to Democrat, and nearly 3 to 1 in the Senate.