It’s hot all over the Tri-State today, but in Kentucky they’re talking about packing even more heat. A Kentucky lawmaker is drafting a bill that would let gun owners carry concealed weapons without any special permit. Kentucky has issued concealed carry permits since 1996, but only after a gun owner completed a training course and passed a test. As you might expect, this new law is drawing some strong support and some not-so-friendly fire.
Local 12’s Joe Webb has been following the story.
State Representative Mike Harmon of Danville, who’s also a candidate for Lieutenant Governor, says he wants to accomplish two things with his bill… restore freedoms and make concealed carry available to those who can’t afford the 60-70 dollars it costs to take the class and get the permit. Some say there are other costs to consider, too. Guns aren’t cheap and if you want to buy one of these and carry it out in your purse or put it in your car’s console, you have to spend more money and get some training. Kentucky Police like it that way.
Lt. Col. Spike Jones, Covington Police: “We haven’t had a lot of problems with concealed carry permit people here in the Commonwealth and I think it has to do with the training they undergo to get the permit.”
But what if just about everyone on the street could carry concealed? Now police know if a car they pull over is registered to someone who also can carry a concealed weapon.
“I think without the appropriate training and qualification, I would agree it does compromise our safety as police officers.”
The bill is the brainchild of State Representative Mike Harmon of Danville. If it passes, Kentucky would become only the fourth state that allows concealed carry without a permit.
Rob Sanders, Kenton County Commonwealth’s Attorney: “It doesn’t mean you can carry concealed anywhere in Kentucky. Can’t take guns into courthouses, can’t take guns into schools, churches, government buildings, places like that.”
The current law prohibits concealed carry in bars. Harmon says he might want that left up to the business. Even with a lot of detail still up in the air, Sanders says the idea may be worth a shot.
“Be a little concerned about surprising police officers, but outside of that, legally speaking, there’s no real significant difference to us. We don’t see a whole lot of crime from people with concealed carry weapons permits. For the most part, if they’ve gone to the trouble to get those, they’re law-abiding citizens.”
Harmon says he is in the process of having a bill drafted. He plans to consult with state and local police on how to make it work. Harmon says he would hope the current permitting process would stay in effect so Kentuckians could get reciprocal permission to carry concealed in the other states that allow it.
Federal law prohibits a lot of people from even owning a gun. That includes convicted felons, people guilty of domestic violence, illegal drug addicts and people who are mentally ill.