Two KY bills would lower carried conceal age, abolish government-mandated gun-free zones

Kentucky State Capitol
Posted at 4:35 PM, Mar 01, 2023
and last updated 2023-03-01 16:35:42-05

Dry Ridge native and Kentucky Republican Representative Savannah Maddox has introduced two House Bills that would expand gun accessibility in Kentucky.

House Bill 118, if passed, would lower the age Kentuckians could receive a concealed carry license from 21 to 18. The currently existing processes for obtaining a concealed carry license would still apply, but the bill would open the application process to 18-, 19-, and 20-year-olds living in Kentucky.

Maddox, who represents part of Boone County, part of Kenton County and all of Gallatin and Grant counties has sponsored the bill alongside Republican Representative Marianne Proctor, who serves part of Boone County.

A second bill, House Bill 138, seeks to change rules around where those with concealed carry license holders can legally carry firearms.

The bill would repeal a section of the Kentucky Revised Statutes that prohibits carry-concealed weapons in governmental buildings, including public schools. Under the bill, only students would be prohibited from carrying a firearm into a school, if the carrier has a concealed carry license.

HB 138 also states those in the Commonwealth can carry a firearm onto private property unless the owner of the property has posted notice that concealed weapons are not allowed.

"Any person who is not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm may carry a firearm and ammunition for that firearm for purposes of self-defense and defense of others while hunting, fishing, trapping or engaging in any other activity not constituting a crime ... and may do so on any public lands under the control of the department and on any private land under the control of the department, unless the owner of the private land has posted notice that concealed deadly weapons are not allowed in a building where they may be prohibited," reads the bill.

Section 17 of the bill outlines that private business owners, commercial lessees or managers of private business enterprises can prohibit people from concealed-carrying a gun on the property; a private business owner can prohibit employees from carrying within the business, but a publicly-traded employer cannot.

This would mean businesses like Kroger, parts of CVG airport, St. Elizabeth Healthcare or Skyline Chili locations would legally have to allow employees and patrons with concealed carry licenses to carry a firearm inside.

Section 16 of the bill highlights exceptions in which concealed carry license holders are not able to carry a gun:

  • Any police station or sheriff's office
  • Any detention facility, prison or jail
  • Any courthouse or court proceeding
  • Any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality or special district, General Assembly or committee — however, all members of the governing body with a license will be permitted to concealed carry.
  • Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense beer or alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises
  • Any day-care center or child-care home — though owners of such a business or home can concealed carry if the business is also the owner's residence.
  • An area of an airport to which access is controlled by TSA
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law

Maddox has sponsored HB 138 alongside Republican Representative Felicia Rabourn, who represents Carroll, Henry, Owen and Trimble counties.

Currently, to obtain a concealed carry license in the state of Kentucky, residents must:

  • Be at least 21-years-old
  • Be a U.S. citizen who is a resident in Kentucky, a member of the U.S. armed forces posted in Kentucky, or is lawfully admitted to the U.S.
  • Not be under indictment for or have been convicted of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year
  • Not be a fugitive from justice
  • Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substances
  • Not have been "adjudicated as a mental defective or have committed to a mental institution"
  • Not have received a dishonorable discharge from the armed forces
  • Not be subject to a domestic violence order or emergency protective order
  • Not have been convicted of a domestic crime charge
  • Not have been committed to a state or federal facility for abuse of a controlled substance within three years of applying
  • Not have two or more OVI charges within three years of applying
  • Not have been committed as an alcoholic within three years of applying
  • Not owe child support arrears of more than one year
  • Have not been convicted of fourth-degree assault or third-degree terroristic threatening within three years of applying
  • Demonstrate competence with a firearm by completing a firearm safety or training course

Applications are then submitted by the Kentucky State Police for a background check to determine the applicant fits all of the above criteria.

Federal law prohibits anyone convicted of a felony from having a carried conceal license.