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Kentucky gun buyers must jump several hurdles — or none at all

Gun production is on the rise across the U.S.
Gun production is on the rise across the U.S.(CBS46)
Published: May. 26, 2022 at 9:39 PM EDT

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - There is a lot of debate going on once more about gun laws and whether or not they are sufficient to keep firearms out of the hands of potentially dangerous people, or even whether or not that is possible.

In order to buy a gun legally in Kentucky, one must typically first overcome a few hurdles. Although the Commonwealth abides by federal gun laws, some might argue that those laws are not strict enough.

After entering a store like Open Range in Crestwood, there are a few steps that need to be taken before one can walk out with a gun, such as filling out a 4473 form and passing a background check. Questions regarding drug usage, felony convictions, citizenship status, and other disqualifying factors are included on the application.

But if someone lies on the form, something interesting happens — or doesn’t.

“Most likely, nothing happens, zero,” Barry Laws, the president of Open Range, said.

There were no inspections, visits, or anything else conducted by any of the government agencies, regardless of whether it is for reasons related to the individual’s mental health or for a criminal offense.

“Nobody knocks on his door to say ‘Hey Joe, are you OK? Do you need some help? Do you need a counselor?’” Laws said. “Let’s say he’s a felon, a violent felon - they don’t knock on his door.”

There’s no waiting period to buy a gun in Kentucky. If a person is able to pass all of the checks, they will be able to leave with one on the same day. If purchasing a gun online, it must be shipped to a licensed dealer and processed. Kentuckians also can’t buy a gun for someone else, which is called a “straw purchase.”

However, there is a different route which could be used when purchasing a firearm.

“I as Barry Laws can walk out in the parking lot, pull a gun out of my pocket, and sell it to you without any background check. and I’ve broken no laws whatsoever,” Laws said.

Laws said it’s not a loophole. Private sellers at gun shows work the same as dealers.

“So they can change the laws and make it a universal background check,” he said. “That’s what they’re talking about, but right now, it’s just another way of buying a firearm.”

In Kentucky, buyers must be 21 to buy a handgun, but only 18 to buy a rifle.

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