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.
- Gun Laws at a Glance
- Firearm License Requirements
- Background Checks
- Gun Shows
- Ammunition and Hardware Restrictions
- Prohibited Persons
- Prohibited Places
- Concealed Carry Laws
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|
|Large Capacity Magazine Ban||No|
Firearm License Requirements
Kentucky does not require gun owners to obtain any kind of license.
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.
Kentucky has no laws directly regulating gun shows.
Hardware and Ammunition 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.|
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.
|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.|
|Locations and events selling alcohol||Permitted.||None.|
Concealed Carry Laws
|“No Gun” Signs||See Details|
|State Park Carry||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|
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.