There were 200 laws passed during the 2019 legislative session, and one of those laws was Senate Bill 150, allowing anyone 21 years and older and legally eligible to possess a firearm to carry a concealed weapon without a license. This law, which went into effect last week, does not require any measure of safety training or an individual to pass a background check
The Kentucky House of Representatives voted 60-37 in approval of Senate Bill 150. Governor Matt Bevin signed the bill into law on March 11. Kentucky already recognized the right to carry a firearm openly without a permit, but now joins 15 other states in allowing concealed firearms to be carried the same way.
Constitutional carriers will be allowed to carry weapons underneath clothing, without a holster, though they will face restrictions on where they can carry. According to the new law, Constitutional carriers, with or without a permit, cannot take guns inside police stations or sheriff’s offices, detention facilities, jails or prisons, courthouses or any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality or special district.
Carriers are also prohibited from taking concealed firearms inside any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense beer or alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, areas of airports that deal with security, any elementary or secondary schools, without the consent of school authorities, and all daycare and childcare facilities.
The public has been largely divided on the issue of gun control and open and concealed carry policies, with various federal corporations making different statements about the right to Constitutionally carry.
“Our concern nationwide with the new law is that anyone can conceal a weapon without any form of training,” said Daviess County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Major Barry Smith. “The training is substantial for those who’ve never fired a handgun.”
Although Kentuckians now have the legal right to carry concealed firearms without a permit, Smith advises anyone wanting to carry be properly trained beforehand.
“A lot is learned in that eight-hour class,” Smith said. “It is a concern for us. We don’t know rightfully whether that person is legally carrying. Someone that has a concealed weapon, that is untrained in any nature, could decide to use the weapon in an unjustified way. Without training — just because someone is scared — they could pull the trigger and use it in fear, not criminally, but impulsively.”
Timber Ridge Defensive Firearm Training owner Dwight Peveler trains individuals and classes for their CCDW license in Daviess County. Peveler, a longtime firearms enthusiast, said he supports the new concealed carry law in Kentucky.
“I like it. I am a firm believer that you don’t make someone pay for a license for a Constitutional right,” he said. “I tell all of my classes, ‘Yes, this is your right, but you still have your responsibilities.’”
Peveler said he isn’t worried about losing customers after this law takes effect. In hearing from other CCDW trainers like himself, Peveler said many have reported higher numbers of attendees wanting to obtain their permit after the Constitutional carry law took place in their respective states.
“In these classes, you’ll know Kentucky’s laws and you’ll know other states’ laws,” Peveler said. “Using the people who have taken my class in the past to gauge, I think our numbers will stay about the same as before.”
According to Peveler, half of his class attendees say they have no plans to ever use a firearm, but, if they’re going to carry, they want to be properly trained.
As for those who may oppose the state’s new concealed carry law, Peveler believes much of the fear people harbor about guns comes from an uneducated outlook.
“I look at it from an educational aspect — a lot of people are scared to death of a firearm. This law will [increase] that anxiety level for those people,” he said. “We were given the right to protect ourselves in Kentucky.”
However, both Smith and Peveler agree on one important aspect of carrying concealed weapons in the Commonwealth.
“You have to have a concealed weapon permit when traveling to other states,” Smith said. “This is a law for the state of Kentucky only.”