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Kentucky Gun Laws

Kentucky has very permissive gun laws that make responsible firearms ownership very simple. Kentucky does not require any kind of license for buying handguns or carrying concealed firearms. The state has almost no hardware restrictions, and does not require any waiting periods or Universal Background Checks. For these reasons, Kentucky is seen as one of the nation’s most gun-friendly states.

Kentucky Gun Laws at a Glance

Concealed Carry Premit Required No
Open Carry Premitted Yes
Waiting period before purchasing No
Lost and Stolen Firearm Reporting No
Firearms License Required for Purchasing No
Universal Background Check No
Firearm Registration No
Large Capacity Magazine Ban No

Firearm License Requirements

Kentucky does not require gun owners to obtain any kind of license.

Background Checks

Kentucky does not require firearms dealers to initiate background checks prior to transferring a firearm. However, federal law does require licensed firearms dealers to conduct background checks on all transferees. In Kentucky, licensed dealers must initiate this background check by directly contacting the FBI.
When buying from unlicensed dealers, background checks are also not required.

Gun Shows

Kentucky has no laws directly regulating gun shows.

Hardware and Ammunition Restrictions

Hardware Restrictions
Assault Weapons No restrictions.
50 Caliber Rifles No restrictions.
Machine Guns No restrictions.
Large Capacity Magazines No restrictions.
Ammunition Armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited.

Prohibited Persons

Kentucky prohibits the possession of a firearm by anyone convicted of a felony after July 15, 1994. Kentucky also prohibits the possession of a handgun by anyone convicted of a felony after January 1, 1975.

Prohibited Places

Location Restrictions Exceptions
Schools It is illegal under Kentucky law to possess a firearm in or on any school property, or on any grounds being used or controlled by a school district. This prohibition does not apply to: Firearms approved for use in school functions Postsecondary schools and places of higher education Firearms contained in vehicles that are not brandished on school property Any person authorized to carry a firearm by school officials Persons hunting on lawful designated hunting grounds Persons possessing unloaded hunting firearms while traversing school grounds
Vehicles Firearms may be carried loaded or unloaded in any enclosed container in a vehicle.. The carrier must be legally permitted to carry a firearm.
Public Courthouses Prohibited None.
Locations and events selling alcohol Permitted. None.

Concealed Carry Laws

Notify Officer No
“No Gun” Signs See Details
In-Vehicle Carry Yes
Restaurant Carry Yes
State Park Carry Yes
While Hunting Yes

“No Gun” Signs are not mentioned in any of Kentucky’s gun laws. Kentucky does authorize private businesses to ban concealed carry, but this does not include open carry. Businesses that rent or lease housing may not restrict concealed carry.

Obtaining a Concealed Carry License

Kentucky allows any person over the age of 21 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. However, the state does issue concealed carry licenses. Kentucky is a “shall issue” state. This means that the governing body must issue a concealed carry permit to a given applicant if certain qualifications are met.

Requirements for a Concealed Carry License
  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a legal resident of the US or a US citizen
  • Be a resident of Kentucky
  • Demonstrate competence with a firearm
  • Not have been committed to any state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance within the previous 3 years
  • Not have been committed to any state or federal facility for a misdemeanor relating to a controlled substance within the previous 3 years
  • Not have been committed as an alcoholic within the past 3 years
  • Not owe child support arrearage which exceeds or is equal to the amount that would be owed after one full year of non-payment
  • Have complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity hearings
  • Not have been convicted of assault in the fourth degree within the previous 3 years
  • Not have been convicted of terroristic threatening in the third degree in the previous 3 years

Concealed Carry Firearms Training

Kentucky law states that an applicant for a concealed carry license must “demonstrate competence with a firearm by successful completion of a firearms safety or training course that is conducted by a firearms instructor who is certified by a national organization that certifies firearms instructors and includes the use of written tests, in person instruction, and a component of live-fire training, or a firearms safety course offered or approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Training”.

This training must:

  • Not exceed 8 hours in length
  • Include instruction on handguns, the safe use of handguns, the care of handguns, and handgun marksmanship principles
  • Include range firing of a handgun and the firing of not more than 20 rounds at a full-sized target, during which at least 11 rounds must hit the target
  • Include education on and a copy of Kentucky firearm laws and the laws relating to the use of force
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the law regarding the justifiable use of force by including a copy of the concealed carry deadly weapons handout from the Department of Criminal Justice Training and a signed statement affirming that the applicant has read and understands the handout

Concealed Carry Location Restrictions

Even with a valid concealed carry license, you may not possess any concealed firearms at or in:

  • Any elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of school authorities
  • Any child-care facility, any day-care center or any certified family child-care home
  • Any school bus
  • Any police station or sheriff's office
  • Any detention facility, prison or jail
  • Any courthouse
  • Any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality or special district or any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly;
  • Any place where alcoholic beverages are being sold at a retail establishment licensed to sell alcohol by the drink. Note: This prohibition does not apply to restaurants that are open to the public, have dining facilities for at least 50 people, and receive less than 50 percent of their annual food and beverage income from the sale of alcohol
  • An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation
  • Colleges, universities, technical schools and community colleges that have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons
  • Private businesses who have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons
  • Areas in which state and local governments have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons

Disclaimer: The information provided here is not to be construed as legal advice or acted upon as if it is legal advice: it is provided for informational and entertainment purposes only. While we strive to provide accurate, up-to-date content, we cannot guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or currency of the information. Gun laws can change frequently, especially at the state and local levels. Application of gun laws can be unique to an individual’s situation. We recommend that each individual consult with a competent and qualified legal professional before purchasing, transporting, or using any firearm or firearm-related product.