FRANKFORT, Ky. (WAVE) - Kentucky lawmakers were greeted by protesters as they returned to Frankfort Tuesday for the start of the 2020 General Assembly.
More than 100 people gathered to demonstrate in favor of strengthening the Second Amendment, fighting gun control.
“Everybody thinks about the Second Amendment as far as hunting and self-defense,” Joseph Springer, a Louisville gun owner who was at the rally said. “That’s not why we have the Second Amendment. We have the Second Amendment to keep the government under control.”
Last year, the legislature passed a controversial law making it so adults can conceal guns without a permit.
Protesters said that's something they want to protect in 2020, noting a bill pre-filed to repeal it.
“There are plenty of us in Louisville that pack every day," Springer said. "You know what, we don’t want our rights taken away. I don’t want to be California. We don’t want to be New York. We don’t want to be Illinois.”
That measure was drafted by Democrats in the political minority. So, it’s a lot harder for it to become a reality with a Republican majority in both the House and the Senate.
Some Kentucky lawmakers have also been pushing for a red flag law, arguing it would save lives.
Red flag laws allow officers to seize weapons from someone shown to be dangerous or at risk of hurting themselves or others.
Those weapons aren’t held indefinitely. Under other states’ red flag laws, like Indiana, a judge is required to hold a hearing within 14 days to show that the person is considered dangerous and that those weapons should be held.
Protesters said they’re not supportive of it because they believe taking weapons, then going to court, violates due process and Second Amendment rights.
"You don't even have to know them, but you can make a complaint on them about a gun and it could be taken away from them," Mark Shumaker, a KY United rally co-organizer, said. "The problem with that is that there's no due process."
Governor Andy Beshear has said he’d be supportive of red flag laws, which would still have to be passed by the Republican-held legislature.
Partially in response to that, a number of Central Kentucky counties have resolutions in the works to declare themselves Second Amendment sanctuary counties.
Shumaker is heading the efforts in Bullitt County.
“It is in the process and I understand that they are supportive,” he said. "Bullitt County is strong with constitutional rights.”
Shumaker said the resolution will send a message to state lawmakers to not to pass any laws that would be challenged on their constitutionality, when it comes to the Second Amendment.
Nelson County Sheriff Ramon Pineiroa posted on Facebook that he views a sanctuary status as a strong opinion statement. He added he’s concerned, when officers have to serve protective orders, taking away weapons, people will be confused, and more likely to fight back.
“If the sheriff, if they have a duly recorded document, we’re in support of that,” Shumaker said.
A representative of the NRA energized the crowd telling them, despite national reports of changing stances on certain gun issues, the Kentucky branch of the organization won’t be soft when it comes to the Second Amendment.