Gov. Bevin to sign permitless conceal carry bill after House passes measure
The Kentucky House of Representatives has passed a permitless conceal carry bill.
Senate Bill 150, backed by the National Rifle Association, will now head to Governor Matt Bevin's desk after a 60-37 vote in the House. It allows Kentuckians 21 and older who can lawfully possess a firearm to be able to conceal it without a permit.
Gov. Bevin said Friday afternoon to Gray TV that he would sign the bill.
"It doesn't break new ground. It simply says that people do indeed have the right to keep and bear arms," said Gov Bevin. "... For those people who are offended at this idea and don't like it, there are other places in America where they could live."
Gov. Bevin also said he is a concealed carry gun owner and that this bill is a constitutional carry bill.
Bill supporters say the bill reinforces Kentuckians' constitutional rights.
"It is not the role of the government to force its citizens to ask for their permission and pay recurrent fees in order to exercise their 2nd Amendment rights," Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge said while the bill was in committee.
But, some opponents said it hurts what they believe is an epidemic of gun violence.
"I'm a believer that owning a firearm is a right. But carrying it concealed is a privilege," said Seth Dix, owner of Semper Fi Firearms.
The Kentucky Fraternal Order of Police opposed the bill, saying it doesn't address safety concerns for police.
"Our overall main concern is to work with entities like the NRA to address the concerns of the individual gun owner and also address the safety concerns for our police officers in the Commonwealth," said Jason Rothermund, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 4.
They say identifying who is carrying a gun is safer for police and citizens.
"The communication part of identifying yourself as somebody who is carrying a firearm legally to a law enforcement officer is a very critical point now," Rothermund said. "We have to make it in any legislation like this."
The Louisville Metro Police Department also said the bill had potential dangers for officers.
House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, voiced opposition before the House vote, saying the current system isn't broken.
But, Rep. Maddox believes the bill will not change much about the current system.
"Currently in the state of Kentucky law-abiding citizens who are statutorily eligible to possess a firearm, they openly carry one without any permit or training," said Rep. Maddox.
"Essentially it comes down to the difference of wearing an outer garment--such as a jacket-- over the firearm or not."
This law, if signed, would still require residents to carry a permit when traveling to other states where concealed carry is in place.