“All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: … 7) The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons.”
AT A GLANCE
Kentucky is a shall-issue, constitutional carry state with permits processed by the State Police. No permit, waiting period, and registration is needed to purchase a firearm from a private individual. A background check is required if purchasing from a Federal Firearms Dealer. Open carry is legal in Kentucky without a permit for anyone at least 18. Kentucky is now a constitutional carry state. Kentucky recognizes all currently valid concealed carry permits issued by other U.S. jurisdictions. Kentucky is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. There is no duty to retreat. A person who uses permitted force is justified and is immune from criminal prosecution and civil action.
By statute, Kentucky will recognize another state’s license to carry:
“A person who is not a resident of Kentucky and who has a valid license issued by another state of the United States to carry a concealed deadly weapon in that state may, subject to provisions of Kentucky law, carry a concealed deadly weapon in Kentucky, and his or her license shall be considered as valid in Kentucky.”
Since there is no national carry license, as with the other states, some states are reciprocal with Kentucky and some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Kentucky State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.
Duty To Notify Police Officer
Kentucky does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied. You must carry Your license at all times You are carrying a concealed firearm and You must display Your license upon request of a LEO.
Carrying Firearms In Vehicles
Kentucky permits anyone who is legally allowed to possess a firearm to carry it without a permit in any closed container or compartment built into the vehicle, such as the glove compartment, center console, or seat pocket.
Kentucky permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is legal. CLEOs are required to sign an application for the transfer of any item regulated under the NFA within 15 days if the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving it.
Kentucky has both Castle Doctrine and SYG laws. There is no duty to retreat from any place You have a legal right to be. You may use force, including deadly force, in defense of yourself or others if You reasonably believe it is necessary to prevent imminent death, SBI, the commission of a forcible felony, or to stop the unlawful & forcible entry into a dwelling, residence, or occupied motor vehicle.
Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol
You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that you not carry in the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.
Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?
“No Firearm” signs in Kentucky do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in state law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to arrest for criminal trespass.
Open carry is legal in Kentucky. You may carry openly without a permit/license. The state preempts all local firearm laws in the state. The minimum age for open carry is 18.
DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.
However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.
As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.
This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.
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