Do you know your rights as a gun owner? Kentucky allows open carry and concealed carry of firearms including shotguns, rifles, handguns.

To own a firearm, you must be a legal citizen of the United States. You are not legally required to register your firearms and you do not need a license for shotguns or rifles. Though it is not written in the Kentucky gun law, it is assumed that the legal age to own a firearm is 18 years old. Firearms may be purchased from any licensed dealer, manufacturer, or shop in any state.

Open carry and concealed carry of handguns are allowed in Kentucky. Open carry is when a firearm is visibly carried by a person or visible within a vehicle. It is important to know that by open carrying a handgun you are more prone to encounters with law enforcement. If an open carry weapon is clearly visible, police officers have the right to question you if your weapon is brought to their attention.

Concealed carrying is having a weapon on your person that is not easily visible, yet immediately accessible for use. To operate a concealed weapon, a Kentucky resident must have a carry concealed deadly weapons license (CCDW). To apply for a license, you must be a resident of Kentucky for at least 6 months prior to filling out an application (exception for military personnel) and 21 years old. Other qualifications for a CCDW license are outlined by the Kentucky State Police.

To carry a concealed weapon, you must apply for a CCDW license. You are then required to complete and pass a firearms safety course conducted by the Department of Justice Training.

The following are required when applying for a CCDW license:

  • application form, completed under oath
  • name, address, date of birth, gender, and social security number
  • recent color photograph
  • photocopy of a certificate or document stating the completion of a firearms training course offered or approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Training

The test will be submitted to the Kentucky State Police within 5 business days. Within 90 days after receiving your test, the Kentucky State Police will either issue a license or deny the application. If denied, you will be informed in writing of the reasons for denial within 30 days.

CCDW licenses are good for up to 5 years and can be renewed after the license term is up. You must renew your license 120 days before the expiration date. Upon your CCDW license expiration, a written notice will be mailed from the Department of State Police notifying you that your license will expire. Download the renewal form and submit to renew your license.

Most public areas allow the open carry or concealed carry of a handgun. Open carry and concealed weapons are restricted from being carried into public facilities such as schools, police stations, courthouses, daycare centers, and any business that sells alcohol for consumption on the premises. If carrying a concealed weapon in a vehicle, place in the glove box, center console, or seat pocket. It is illegal to place a concealed weapon under the driver’s seat.

The state of Kentucky recently issued changes to the Kentucky gun laws. The first change removed a dangerous provision requiring students in a training class to clean their guns in a class setting. Changes were made to the Kentucky law after problems occurred within the classroom setting. Students were failing to keep the firearms pointed in a safe direction while cleaning, risking the lives of other students. The change now requires a demonstration by the instructor instead of students conducting the cleaning process.

The second change made to Kentucky gun laws established parameters for organizations similar to the NRA which may train and certify firearm instructors to teach safety courses to concealed weapons permit applicants.

It is important to know your rights as a gun owner. For more information on gun laws in Kentucky, visit http://www.handgunlaw.us/states/kentucky.pdf.