Local gun regulation can be a controversial and challenging topic in your city. Due to the federal and state constitutional right to bear arms, Kentucky cities can only regulate firearms in very limited circumstances specifically authorized by state statutes or case law. Below are some must-know facts about gun laws in Kentucky that affect a city’s ability to regulate when and where citizens carry weapons.
Here’s what you CAN do:
- A city can enact regulations or ordinances prohibiting or limiting the carrying of concealed deadly weapons in buildings or portions of buildings owned, leased, or controlled by that city, such as city hall or council chambers. The ordinance must contain an exception for any building used for public housing, highway rest areas, firing ranges, and private dwellings, even though the city owns, leases or controls the building.
- A city can impose penalties that deny access to the building or require the person to leave the building, and city employees who violate the concealed weapon ordinance can be subjected to disciplinary measures.
- If a city enacts a concealed weapon ordinance, the city must post clearly identified signs at the entrance to the restricted area.
- A city can regulate discharge of firearms within the city limits.
The law is clear about what your city CANNOT do. Stay away from the following approaches.
- A city cannot use zoning ordinances to prohibit certain federally licensed firearms businesses from locating within the city.
- A city cannot prohibit or limit concealed deadly weapons on grounds outside of the actual building, such as park grounds.
- A city cannot prohibit citizens from openly carrying deadly weapons anywhere on city property.
- A city cannot impose criminal penalties for violating a concealed weapon ordinance.
- A city cannot seize or revoke the right to carry a deadly weapon if that weapon is legally possessed, even in times of an emergency or disaster.
Cities should review their ordinances to ensure they are in compliance with these laws. Contact the KLC Legal Department at 800-876-4552 for sample ordinances and more information.