Kentucky bill would allow for concealed carry of weapons without licensing or training

Controversial measure may not get a vote this year

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- If the Kentucky Legislature moves quickly in what's left of its 30-day session, a bill allowing for unlicensed and untrained use of a concealed weapon could soon become law.

As of Feb. 20, Senate Bill 7, supported by a multitude of gun advocates and the National Rifle Association, is still waiting to be heard in the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, according to the Legislative Research Commission's website.

A similar bill in the House, House Bill 314, was introduced Feb. 15 and sent to the House Judiciary Committee, where it still sits, according to the LRC.

There is some debate as to whether either bill will actually get out of committee and be approved by March 30 by both the Senate and the House. The NRA has even told its constituents to call Kentucky senators and representatives to push for the bill to pass this session.

Legislators have said it doesn't make it this session, it could be considered in 2018.

Either way, it's a bill that has folks tense on both sides of the issue.

But even some gun lovers are wary.

Chris Martin of Mt. Adams wrote in an email that he's a self-proclaimed "gun nut," but that the bill should be "shot down in committee."

Even some second amendment supporters on the NRA Institute for Legislative Action Facebook page say they don't support it.

One NRA Facebook writer said Kentucky needs to be careful.

"I'm all for gun rights, but I know Kentucky," wrote Chris Robertson of Hazel, Kentucky. "There are too many idiots running around here to let them just carry handguns without any kind of training. Plus we already have permitless open carry."

Robertson said he would like to see a national concealed weapons law -- that includes training -- so he can take his gun with him while traveling.

The NRA has warned its supporters that the bill may not get passed this session, fueling comments on the issue.

Others say it's a Second Amendment issue and requiring training and a license is wrought with problems that deny one's Constitutional rights. Kentucky's not the first state to consider a version of this law — Missouri most recently passed a law in September.

Most of the arguments are not new in this arena.

The state already has open carry without a permit. You can carry a gun in Kentucky without a permit, license or training already — as long as it's in full view.

For Sen. Schickel (R-District 11) in Union, Kentucky, that's why SB 7, of which he is one of 10 sponsors, isn't that big of a deal.

"We can carry a gun anywhere it's allowed anyway," Schickel said.

It doesn't change gun-free zones, whether public school zones or private businesses, he said. "It simply allows the gun to be concealed."

It also doesn't change any laws that require background checks required when purchasing a weapon.

Joe Kalil, a licensed gun dealers and firearms instructor in Boone County, said he helped Schickel draft a version of the bill several years ago.

"I would be willing to lose money (as a trainer) to let freedom and liberty reign," he said, citing the Second Amendment phrase "shall not be infringed." He said he's told students that gun training courses are good, but when they sign a license, they are agreeing that the government controls their right to keep and bare arms.

Kalil and Schickel are among those who say that it makes people safer; that if a criminal thinks someone could have a gun, they are more or less likely to commit a crime.

Kalil takes it further, saying the Bible "gives us the right to protect ourselves. We don't have teeth or claws, we have tools" such as guns and knives.

But Eileen Broomall of Covington worries that more children are at risk with a concealed weapons law.

"More children will be in environments with unsecured guns, carried by people with no training or permit," she wrote in an email. "A gun is a dangerous weapon — while people have a right to own/carry them, there is a responsibility that comes with it too (to make sure it is secure, that children can't get to them, etc), that I think most serious gun owners would agree with."

For Jim Henline of Fort Thomas, it's a Second Amendment right, but it's also common sense.

"If a person can legally own a firearm, there should be no reason they should not be free to carry the weapon as they see fit," he wrote in an email.

"You walk past hundreds of people a day with concealed weapons on their person and they never bother you," he said. "Requiring a test or a price for exercising of a right is unconstitutional."

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