Kentucky is undergoing radical changes to its concealed carry laws. Senate Bill 150 was signed into law by Governor Matt Bevin in March 2019. The new legislation changes the state’s gun laws significantly.
Is Kentucky an Open Carry State?
Open carry is legal in the state without a permit. Legal carry is allowed as long as the person is 18 years old or older. Kentucky’s Concealed carry laws have also changed. The 2019 Kentucky gun laws update allows the following:
- Residents to legally carry their firearm, concealed
The only restriction is that the person must be allowed to possess a firearm. The new law will go into effect on July 1, 2019.
But if you’re an out-of-state visitor, you will need to have a conceal carry permit to be able to open carry in the state.
Kentucky ccw permits or licenses have reached nearly 375,000 residents, and the state has overall good gun laws.
Kentucky Concealed Carry Licenses
Kentucky’s concealed carry license allows for a resident to carry a variety of different weapons, and these weapons include: firearms, knives, brass knuckles and other weapons, including clubs.
Licenses are only granted to military personnel or residents of the state.
When applying for a license, the resident will need to meet the following requirements:
- Applicants must be 21 years of age or older
- Applicants must have resided in the state for six months or longer
- Applicants must be a legal resident or a U.S. citizen
- All federal law requirements must also be met
Kentucky residents can be denied their concealed carry permit if they are convicted of:
- Abuse of a concealed substance in the last 3 years
- 2 or more DUI or DWI in the prior 3 years
- Assault in the fourth degree in the past 3 years
- Terroristic threats in the third degree in the past 3 years
You can also not owe more than one year’s worth of child support payments.
When you apply for your concealed carry license, you’ll have to pay a $60 fee. The license is valid for a period of 5 years and will take 90 days to process.
All residents will be required to take a training certificate class.
Firearms safety courses and training must be approved by the Department of Criminal Justice, and meet the following requirements:
- Duration of no more than 8 hours
- Basic handgun safety, instruction, care and cleaning
- Range firing of no more than 20 rounds with no less than 11 rounds hitting the silhouette portion of the target
- Basic understanding of possession and carry laws
- Demonstration of justifiable use of force
Applicants must pass the mandatory marksmanship test to be eligible to receive their license.
Non-resident licenses may be granted, but these licenses will only be granted to military personnel that are stationed within the state under KRS 237.110 law. If you do move to the state, your out-of-state license will be valid for a period of 120 days.
What the 2019 Laws Will Change?
The new laws allow for constitutional carry in the state of Kentucky. What does this mean for concealed carry laws?
This means that, under Senate Bill 150, concealed carry will be allowed without:
- Safety training
- Background checks
As long as a person meets the legal rules for gun ownership and is at least 21 years of age, he or she may carry a concealed firearm without a permit in the state when the law goes into effect on July 1, 2019.
Kentucky residents will still be able to obtain their license or permit to conceal carry, and this will allow for training and higher levels of safety for residents.
If a Kentucky resident plans to conceal carry in another state that offers reciprocity, it’s important to contact law enforcement in the other state. The state may honor a Kentucky concealed carry permit, but if a permit is not held, you will have to adhere to the other state’s laws.
Law changes do not allow concealed carry in all places. There are off-limit restrictions wherein concealed carry will not be allowed (more below).
Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map
Kentucky concealed carry also allows for reciprocity. The state honors all concealed carry licenses from other states. But a Kentucky concealed carry license is only honored in 37 states. The states that will honor a Kentucky license include:
- New Hampshire
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- West Virginia
The only states which will not honor Kentucky’s concealed carry licenses are:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
KY CCW: Places Permitted to Carry
Kentucky, like many other states, will allow you to legally carry in:
- Your vehicle
- Areas of the state that are not off limits
- Rest areas
- State parks and national forests
Concealed carry in a vehicle is permitted with or without a permit. Kentucky law does not state that you must inform an officer that you’re carrying. If you are conceal carrying, you must have your license on you at all times.
Note: If a person does not have a permit, the firearm must be kept loaded or unloaded in a compartment, storage space or a closed container. This may include a glove compartment, console or storage space that is installed as original, or a compartment or closed container.
Signage laws are such that Kentucky’s laws do not mention “No Weapons” signs. What the law does state is that private businesses have the right to ban concealed carry, but there is no mention of open carry. While this is a technicality, it’s recommended that all gun holders adhere to the signage of an establishment regardless of the law.
KY CCW: Places Off-Limits
As a concealed carry holder, the gun owner must know the areas where carry is off-limits. It’s up to the license holder to ensure that they keep up to date with the law. Areas where license holders cannot conceal carry include:
- Jail, prison or detention center
- Police station
- Sheriff’s office
- Establishments where alcoholic beverages are dispensed (does not include restaurants, but not in the bar area)
- Elementary and secondary schools
- Meeting of governing bodies
- Meeting of the General Assembly
- Areas prohibited by Federal Law
- Some airport areas
- Daycare centers
- Childcare homes
Private property owners have the right to limit the carrying of concealed weapons. This would include colleges, universities and technical schools.
Again, Kentucky’s gun laws have undergone a radical change in 2019, and as of July 1, 2019, the law will allow constitutional carry and permitless carry.
Additional Laws and Requirements
Kentucky does have several laws and requirements that all concealed carry holders must follow:
- Kentucky does not have red flag laws
- Magazine capacity restrictions do not exist for handguns
- Armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited in the state
- Permits are not required to purchase a gun in the state
- There is no waiting period after a firearm purchase
If a permit or license is stolen, residents will need to request a Duplicate CCDW License at the local sheriff’s office. A fee of $15 will be assessed.
For more information and to answer any specific state questions, we recommend the Kentucky State Police Kentucky State Police website.