By Tracey Goodlett
This week, the Kentucky Senate passed a bill that would allow concealed-carry weapons permit holders to carry guns in bars, provided they don't consume alcohol. Currently, guns are banned,, under Kentucky law, in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol.
Described as "model legislation from the National Rifle Association" by the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, Senate Bill 60 is moving on to the House of Representatives.
The Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America believes this reckless bill puts public health and safety at risk by mixing guns and drinking, and puts Kentucky bar and restaurant owners at risk for significant liability issues if and when a shooting occurs at their establishments.
Reaction to the news of SB60 has been swift and decisive: Kentuckians — including bar owners, gun owners and concealed-carry permit holders — do not want guns in bars under any circumstance.
In fact, one of our moms spoke to a concealed-carry weapons instructor in Hardin County who said making this change to Kentucky law "would be a mistake."
"I encourage everyone to carry responsibly but, in this particular instance where drunken bar fights are not uncommon, I believe that even a responsible, sober gun owner might make a bad decision and use his weapon rather than his cell phone, his feet or his fists," said the instructor, Ken Wilkinson. "I would not want to see anyone get shot over a few beers and an opinion."
Within the last month, there have been several real-life examples of this scenario.
Wilkinson described one which occurred right here in Kentucky when a Danville bar patron fired a gun into the air in an attempt to break up a fight. Other recent examples include a fatal shooting during an altercation outside a South Carolina bar. In Kansas, a concealed-carry weapons holder negligently discharged his firearm in a bar, shooting himself and a friend.
Moms will not sit idly by while our lawmakers pick apart existing common-sense gun laws to satisfy the legislative agenda of the gun lobby. We intend to educate Kentucky bar and restaurant owners and their patrons to the risks they face if SB60 becomes law.
We will go toe-to-toe with the gun lobby, ensuring dangerous gun laws like these no longer fly under the radar. We will fight back with everything we have to keep sensible gun laws in place and encourage new laws that will protect our children, families and communities from senseless gun violence.
The Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America calls on the Kentucky legislature to put the health and safety of Kentuckians before the legislative agenda of the gun lobby, and vote no to SB 60.