FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - Is Kentucky protecting second amendment rights or putting people in danger? Gov. Matt Bevin promised to sign a bill that changes gun laws in the state Friday.
Senate Bill 150 allows anyone 21 and over to carry a concealed weapon without a permit. It passed through the Kentucky legislature Friday, but not without criticism.
Bevin said this simply reinforces the right to bear arms, but critics are saying this could pose serious safety concerns.
“It’s not the role of state government to require training or collect the recurrent fees for law-abiding citizens to exercise his or her second amendment right,” Rep. Savannah Maddox (R-District 61) said.
Supporters of the NRA-backed bill argue that the background check, gun safety training and $60 fee currently in place for concealed carry is unfair to people with lower incomes.
Maddox also said this would help protect women, because when a weapon is out in the open, someone larger could possibly grab it. If it was concealed, Maddox says it could be a different story.
Currently, Kentucky law allows open carry without a permit.
Openrange owner, Barry Laws, offers concealed carry training courses.
“We go over the basic firearm safety, we go over storage, we go over all the laws in Kentucky, we go over what civil liability is versus legal liability,” Laws explained.
He says there does need to be a change in the law that evens out open and concealed carry, but when you change requirements, that’s when things get hazy.
“How are we going to get that information to people,” Laws said.
Laws is concerned this can lead not only to safety issues but also uninformed gun owners.
“If you go over to Indiana or Ohio and you had a concealed carry license you would be covered in their state, but now you are now illegal in their state,” Laws said.
Also bringing up the point that there are certain places the average citizen might not know a gun is allowed at all -- like the post office.
Laws believes there should be public service announcements that relay that information, and local police unions agree.
The unions aren’t opposed to the idea of the bill, but they have serious safety concerns the way the bill stands.
“We want to be clear that we are supportive of everyone’s rights, we don’t want to limit anyone’s rights, we just want to make sure people are safe,” Det. Drew Fox, with the local FOP, said.
Fox says training is of course still encouraged so there are no unintended consequences for gun owners and officers.
“We don’t want somebody to say, 'Hey I have a gun, and be showing the officer where it’s at, thinking they’re doing the right thing,” Fox said. “We want them to tell us, not show us.”
People will still be allowed to get a concealed-carry permit under the law, but it would no longer be mandatory.