Kentucky residents aged 21 and older can begin carrying concealed firearms today without a permit.
The law, SB 150 signed by Gov. Matt Bevin in March, went into effect June 27 and removes the permit requirement for concealed carry, eliminating the previously required six-hour gun safety course, background check, and $60 application fee, according to the Courier Journal.
Regardless of the permit, concealed carry may only be done by legal residents aged 21 and older.
There are still several places that Kentucky residents aren’t allowed to carry their guns. State law still prohibits guns in courthouses, prisons, sheriff offices, jails, prisons, anywhere that serves alcohol, in daycare facilities, and in elementary and secondary schools
The new law also lifts prohibitions on those who owe more than a year’s worth of child support, or who had misdemeanor alcohol or drug convictions in the past three years.
“Law-abiding citizens who are authorized to carry a firearm should not have to ask permission from the government or pay a recurrent fee in order to exercise their Second Amendment right,” said state Rep. Savannah Maddox, who co-sponsored the bill.
Gun rights advocate Michael Paul Wolfgar Lewis, who also owns a firearms safety training business, supports the new law but also fears it could put him out of business. “Rights are rights. It’s somebody’s right to carry a gun,” he told the Associated Press on Wednesday.
Lewis had a stable business with an annual clientele of around 1,000 students, but that number dropped significantly with the new law approaching and he expects it to get even scarcer, despite the fact that residents may still voluntarily sign up for firearms safety training.
Lewis is considering relocating to Florida, where permits and firearms training courses are required. “It’s a business move for me, even though I agree with Kentucky’s bill and I think the legislators did really good with it. I’ve still got to feed my family,” he explained.
The Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) and the Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police both opposed the law. LMPD spokesman Jesse Halladay said the law “creates questions about officer safety and adds a new level of caution that officers have to take.”
“The law gives away a check and balance in terms of getting minimal training and how to safely operate and carry a weapon,” Halladay said.
The National Rifle Association fully supports the new permitless concealed carry law, which is just one of 68 laws that took effect today in Kentucky.