Kentucky Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Kentucky

In the state of Kentucky, gun laws do not require an individual to have a permit before purchasing rifles, shotguns, or handguns. The law also states that no registration is necessary for rifles, shotguns, or handguns. The owner licensing of rifles, shotguns, and handguns is not necessary in Kentucky. Shotguns and rifles do not require a permit in order to be carried but handguns do require permits to be carried.

Kentucky LawsFederal law states that Kentucky Revised Statutes permits the purchase of any firearm from licensed manufacturers, collectors, dealers, and importers. Purchasers are, however, required to be United States citizens and residents of the state of Kentucky’s Commonwealth. Firearms can also be purchased without permit from unlicensed Kentucky individuals or those of other states.

Kentucky is also located in the heart of the United States. Kentucky has a population of approximately 4,400,000 residents. The long north boundary of Kentucky is the Ohio River and the states of Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. The eastern border is West Virginia and Virginia. The southern border is Tennessee, and to the west is Missouri. Open carry is legal in Kentucky even without a valid license to carry. By statute, Kentucky allows residents of other states to purchase firearms in Kentucky, and allows Kentucky residents to purchase firearms in other states, provided such sales comply with federal law.

Carrying Firearms

Kentucky does not allow any individual to carry a concealed firearm on his or herself, as it is illegal. Kentucky defines a concealed weapon as having a firearm about the body or in a near reach where it can be accessed with physical ease. Unlike other states, it is also illegal to carry a concealed weapon in personal dwelling areas or premises. Only those who have been issues legal licenses to carry concealed weapons are allowed to do so, including on-duty company messengers, police officers, on-duty United States mail carriers, and on-duty company agents. Any firearm that is hidden under a driver’s seat is considered concealed, which makes carrying a firearm in a car illegal if located here. Firearms that are within an unlocked or locked glove compartment are not illegal, as this is not considered to be concealed by the state of Kentucky.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Kentucky permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry it without a permit in any closed container or compartment built into the vehicle, such as the glove compartment, center console, or seat pocket.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that you not carry in the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Self-defense Laws

Kentucky has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into a dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle.

Issuing Kentucky Firearms

Acquiring a concealed weapons permit requires several conditions. These include being a United States citizen and a Kentucky resident for more than six months; being on active duty in Kentucky for the Armed Forces; being at least twenty-one-years-old; being eligible through the federal and state law to possess a firearm; not being a justice fugitive, not having been indicted, convicted, or imprisoned for at least one year; having no adjudication record; having no involuntary commission to institution for mental health; having no misdemeanor offense under domestic violence; having not been imprisoned from controlled substance abuse; having not been convicted of a controlled substance misdemeanor in three years; not having outstanding convictions of two or more operating under the influence of alcohol charges within three years; having been compliant with child support warrants and subpoenas; or having not been convicted of a third-degree terrorist threat or fourth-degree assault within three years.

All those applying for concealed weapons must show competence towards firearms and must complete a safety test through the Criminal Justice Training Department. This course will not exceed eight hours, will include handgun instruction–including safety, care, marksmanship, and cleaning–will have safe range firing for less than twenty rounds at different targets, and will have copies of Kentucky laws for carrying and possessing firearms. An application for a concealed weapons permit includes a fee of sixty dollars.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Kentucky will recognize another state’s license to carry:

“A person who is not a resident of Kentucky and who has a valid license issued by another state of the United States to carry a concealed deadly weapon in that state may, subject to provisions of Kentucky law, carry a concealed deadly weapon in Kentucky, and his or her license shall be considered as valid in Kentucky.”

Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Kentucky and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Kentucky State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Criminal Provisions

Under Kentucky law, a license to carry a handgun is not valid in any of the following places or circumstances, whether it was issued by Kentucky, or a person is carrying pursuant to a reciprocity between his or her state of license and Kentucky:

  • Any police station or sheriff’s office
  • A detention facility, prison or jail
  • The portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcohol for consumption on the premises, where that part of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose
  • A courthouse, solely occupied by the Court of Justice courtroom, or court proceeding
  • A school, including elementary, secondary, or day-care facility
  • Any part of an airport subject to inspection of persons and property
  • Firearms may be carried openly, but not concealed, in most public buildings, including the state capitol, libraries, courthouses, and public busses
  • Zoos and parks may not ban concealed carry on their premises
  • Firefighters with valid carry permits can carry on the job
  • Universities may ban the carrying of weapons on their premises
  • The law does not prohibit the owners of private land to exclude individuals carrying firearms. Failure to leave private land when asked could result in criminal trespass charges
  • Any place prohibited by federal law

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