Anti-gun-violence advocates call for changes to Kentucky laws
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - At least nineteen states have red flag laws on the books to keep guns out of the hands of individuals deemed dangerous by the courts, law enforcement or family members.
Kentucky is not one of those states. However, anti-gun-violence advocates, are pushing to change that.
In 2018, Whitney Austin found herself in a pool of her own blood. The Louisville mom had been shot 12 times inside a bank in downtown Cincinnati.
Austin has made it her mission to convey the heavy price gun violence has played in American lives, through her non-profit; Whitney Strong.
“We have a strong network of survivors that come with us to Frankfort to share those stories,” Austin said. “I think that’s how we get to change.”
Austin has partnered with lawmakers to introduce legislation she says is common ground for the commonwealth. It’s a bipartisan bill called: crisis aversion and rights retention to help combat gun owners in crisis by temporarily transferring firearms to law enforcement or a trusted person outside the owner’s household.
“Suicide by firearm is happening disproportionately in our rural countries, and homicides are happening disproportionately in our urban counties,” Austin said. “it’s really a unifying bill and it’s meant and will save lives all across the state.”
However, the measure has had trouble getting to the governor’s desk in a Republican-dominated legislature.
Rep. Savannah Maddox has strongly opposed gun legislation in the bluegrass.
“Enacting a so-called red flag law or any additional gun control is not the answer for any of the problems that might be facing society,” Rep. Maddox said. “In fact, I think we need to take a long hard look at the fact that where a lot of these tragedies occur, they happen in so-called gun-free zones areas in which law-abiding citizens have been stripped of the abilities to protect themselves and their families.”
She says she wants to protect American freedoms.
“It is a violation of a bare minimum of three constitutional rights in addition to due process and the very foundation for which our system is founded,” Maddox said.
Austin says she’s looking forward to another chance to continue the conversation, in 2023.
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