The controversial bill in the Kentucky legislature that would allow people 18 and older to carry a concealed gun without any formal training, background check or permit appears to be in big trouble.
The National Rifle Association, which is pushing Senate Bill 7, issued an alert this week urging members to call their state senator because it “has been pulled from consideration in the Kentucky Senate.”
Lars Dalseide, a spokesman for the NRA in its Washington office, said Friday he did not know if the measure is dead for this legislative session but that the NRA representative in Kentucky “tells us they are going to try to rally the troops to get something.”
He said a similar version of the bill sponsored by Sen. Albert Robinson, R-London, may be filed in the House, but he did not know if a sponsor has been selected.
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Robinson stressed Friday that his bill “has not been pulled from consideration.” It is in the Senate Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee, which Robinson chairs.
He said the original bill he filed was not the final product.
“We’re working on a final product,” said Robinson. “There’s been so much confusion and bad publicity about this bill. Maybe it’s time to back off and work on seeing what we can get this session. If we don’t get it this year, it will be the first bill to be considered during the interim getting ready for next year’s session.”
Robinson said he wants a revised bill this session to require any “law-abiding person at least 21 years of age who could qualify to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon to be eligible to carry a concealed weapon without going through the permit process.”
Now, Kentuckians must be at least 21 to get a permit to carry a concealed deadly weapon and complete a training course. Also, state law bars those who are not legal residents of the state and a variety of people with a criminal background from obtaining a permit, including felons, those convicted of a misdemeanor drug offense within the last three years, those with two or more DUIs, those with certain assault convictions and those who owe more than a year’s worth of child support.
Ten states allow citizens to carry concealed guns without a permit. Dalseide of the NRA said five of those states allow people under the age of 21 to carry concealed weapons without a permit.
Police, including Lexington Police Chief Mark Barnard and several members of the Kentucky Sheriffs’ Association, and gun-safety trainers have expressed concern about Robinson’s bill. They argue that changing the law would compromise public safety.
The NRA said Robinson’s bill “recognizes a law-abiding adult’s unconditional right to keep and bear arms for self-defense in the manner he or she chooses. Self-defense situations are difficult, if not impossible, to anticipate. Accordingly, a law-abiding adult’s right to defend himself or herself in such situations should not be conditioned by government-mandated time delays and taxes.”
The NRA also said SB 7 would keep the current permitting system in place so that individuals who obtain a permit could still enjoy the reciprocity agreements that Kentucky has with other states.
Lexington’s Urban County Council members this week passed a resolution condemning the bill.