Kentucky Democrats are pushing gun and magazine bans, and numerous other gun controls, for Gov.-elect Andy Beshear (D) to sign upon assuming office.
The various gun controls are listed as prefilings on the Kentucky General Assembly website, and include a ban on the possession of “assault weapons” and “high capacity” magazines. The controls also include gun storage requirements, criminalization of private gun sales via universal background checks, and a repeal of permitless carry.
Firearms and Weapons
Deadly weapons, concealed carry without license, repeal
Domestic abuse convictions, firearms surrender, procedures
Domestic violence orders, firearms surrender, procedures
Firearms, ammunition capacity, regulation of
Firearms, assault weapons, possession of
Firearms, comprehensive regulation of
Unlawful storage of a firearm, prohibition of
The controls have to make their way past Republicans in the Kentucky House and Senate before reaching Beshear’s desk.
A committee of state legislators heard testimony Friday from advocates and sponsors of a bipartisan gun bill they argue will save lives.
The bill would allow for emergency orders that temporarily remove guns from Kentuckians deemed an immediate threat to themselves and others.
Kirsten Russell of Louisville fought back tears when recounting the day her mother was shot and killed by her own son, who experienced mental illness. Despite her brother’s increasing delusions, Russell said he was able to purchase multiple firearms because he had no criminal record.
“This is where an extreme risk protection order could have changed my family’s story,” Russell said. “If only we could have called law enforcement and shared our concerns regarding his behavior … we would have had a way to temporarily separate my brother from his guns to ensure his safety and ensure everyone else’s.”
Commonly referred to as a “red flag” law, the bill would allow law enforcement and immediate family members to request a court hearing to determine whether the person in question is an immediate and substantial danger.
Democrats in Virginia are similarly warring against gun rights, with Gov. Ralph Northam (D) promising “consequences” for any county that refuses to enforce gun controls passed by the incoming Democrat majority.
The judge could then issue an extreme risk protection order that the individual’s guns be temporarily confiscated, as well as flagged on background checks for gun purchases, until that order is lifted.
State Sen. Paul Hornback, R-Shelbyville, and Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, testified about the bill to the Interim Joint Judiciary Committee, saying they are close to finalizing a draft of their bill and filing it for the General Assembly session beginning in January.
Hornback told legislators he is a gun owner, hunter and supporter of the Second Amendment, but said “society had changed” and action needed to be taken. He said his bill provided “reasonable restrictions” that are temporary, asking his colleagues to “enter this with an open mind.”
As with any legislation adding new gun restrictions in Kentucky, the bill faces an uphill battle in a General Assembly where Republicans control a supermajority in each chamber, in addition to what will likely be a strong lobbying effort by the National Rifle Association to defeat the bill.
Rep. Savannah Maddox, R-Dry Ridge, spoke forcefully against the bill, saying it “seeks to confiscate firearms from law-abiding citizens who have not committed a crime” and is a “very serious threat” to Kentuckians’ constitutional rights.
Rep. Donald McEachin (D-VA) suggests Gov. Northam might considering sending in the National Guard to compel Virginia counties to comply with gun control.