FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - A bill that would remove the training and permit requirement for carrying concealed weapons in Kentucky easily passed a Senate committee as well as the full Senate on Thursday.
Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, the sponsor of the measure, says he filed in response to tens of thousands of members of the National Rifle Association in Kentucky.
“It would repeal the existing provision of law requiring a person to obtain a concealed weapon permit order to discreetly carry a firearm for self-protection in the state of Kentucky,” he told the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, noting over a dozen states currently have such a law.
“Kentucky’s existing law already allows any law-abiding citizen, who can legally possess a hand gun to carry it openly, without a permit, anywhere in the state,” Smith said. “The difference between a firearm carried openly and a firearm carried concealed, can be as insignificant as the donning of a coat.”
State NRA Director Art Thomm echoed Smith’s sentiments when he addressed the panel. “This bill, essentially, in its most simplistic explanation, decriminalizes wearing a coat in the state of Kentucky.”
Stephen McBride of the Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition also testified in support of waiving the concealed carry permit system. “Open carry of handguns has been legal in Kentucky for over 200 years,” McBride said. “There has never been a permit required to do that.”
He also stated he was unaware of any problem stemming from open carry.
The only person who spoke against the bill in the committee meeting was Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville. She said she has had a concealed carry license for more than 20 years but couldn’t support the bill because it doesn’t require gun training and safety classes.
“The basic fundamental instruction I underwent to receive that license gave me the confidence I could handle that weapon,” she said. “I think taking away that training is certainly going in the wrong direction.”
The bill passed the committee 12-1.
During floor debate, Smith said: “You either have the Second Amendment or you don’t. This is common sense legislation.”
Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, said removing a provision for training is wrong. A former law enforcement office, Carroll opposed the bill. “Is it really common sense for a state government to support and allow people who have no idea how to shoot a gun, people have no idea when you can use a gun?”
The full Senate approved the bill 29-8. It now heads to the House.