Kentucky Legislature Debates Gun-Centric Bills: From Mandatory Reporting to Concealed Carry on College Campuses

Louisville, Kentucky – A set of gun-related bills has been introduced in the Kentucky legislature during the early weeks of the 2024 session. These bills address various aspects of gun access and ownership, with some lawmakers seeking to enforce stricter penalties for gun-related crimes, while others aim to expand hunting rights or concealed carry privileges.

Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg recently reached out to state legislators for assistance in reducing the city’s gun violence. As the debate unfolds, let’s take a closer look at the proposed bills that could potentially shape Kentucky’s gun laws.

One of the bills, known as Senate Bill 56, focuses on the mandatory reporting of gun and ammunition theft. Sponsored by Minority Floor Leader Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, this bill would penalize individuals who fail to properly secure their firearms or report stolen firearms within 24 hours of discovery. The legislation also requires sellers of ammunition to report any losses within the same time frame. Failure to comply with these reporting requirements could result in Class A misdemeanor charges.

Senate Bill 66, introduced by Sen. Adrienne Southworth, R-Lawrenceburg, seeks to expand the carrying of concealed weapons in government buildings and college campuses. If passed, this bill would remove the authority of educational institutions and government bodies to prohibit or place restrictions on the possession of deadly weapons within their properties.

House Bill 98, sponsored by Sen. DJ Johnson, R-Owensboro, proposes increasing the penalty for possessing a handgun while under the age of 18. Currently, this offense is classified as a Class A misdemeanor for the first offense and a Class D felony for subsequent offenses. The bill aims to elevate the first offense to a Class D felony and subsequent offenses to a Class C felony.

In addition to these bills, there are also proposals to revise hunting and fishing license requirements for landowners. Under current law, individuals can be cited for fishing or hunting on their own property without the appropriate license, unless the property is five acres or larger. Senate Bill 5 and House Bills 106 and 140 aim to eliminate this requirement. Senate Bill 60, sponsored by Sen. Gary Boswell, R-Owensboro, seeks to remove the mandatory educational course prerequisite for obtaining a hunting license.

These bills reflect diverse perspectives on gun ownership and access in Kentucky. While some lawmakers advocate for stricter regulations to combat gun violence, others prioritize expanding rights for gun owners, hunters, and concealed carry permit holders. The ongoing debates will shape the future of gun laws in the state.

In summary, a series of gun-related bills are currently being discussed in the Kentucky legislature. These bills cover issues such as mandatory reporting of stolen firearms, expanded concealed carry rights, penalties for illegal gun possession by minors, and revisions to hunting and fishing license requirements. The outcome of these debates will have significant implications for gun owners and the broader community in Kentucky.