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In 2019, Kentucky repealed its requirement that people obtain a license and pass a background check in order to qualify to carry concealed firearms in public spaces.1 Kentucky now generally authorizes any person 21 years of age or older who is eligible to possess a firearm to carry concealed firearms in public without a permit; people carrying guns without a permit are still subject to the same location restrictions as people carrying with a permit.2

As a result, Kentucky law prohibits people who are otherwise authorized to carry concealed firearms in public from carrying concealed firearms into any of the following locations:3

• Police station or sheriff’s office;

• Detention facility, prison or jail;

• Courthouse, solely occupied by the Court of Justice courtroom, or court proceeding;

• Meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district, or of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly, unless the licensee is a member of that body;

• Portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcohol for consumption on the premises, where that part of the establishment is primarily devoted to such purpose;

• Elementary or secondary school facility, without the consent of the school authorities;

• Child-care facility, day care center or certified family child-care home, unless the licensee is the owner of a certified family child-care home operated out of his or her residence;

• Area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property; or

• Place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.4

Kentucky law also provides that a person generally may not carry a concealed deadly weapon into any private business if prohibited by the owner, manager or employer.5 If the carrying of concealed weapons is prohibited in a building or premises open to the public, the employer or business must post signs to that effect. A person who carries a concealed deadly weapon into a private business where prohibited may be denied access to, or removed from, the premises. If the person is an employee of the business, they may be subject to disciplinary measures by their employer.6

Kentucky law also prohibits possession of any loaded firearm in a room where alcoholic beverages are being sold at a retail establishment licensed to sell alcohol “by the drink.”7 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.8

Units of state, city, county, urban-county, or charter county government may prohibit the carrying of concealed weapons in portions of buildings actually owned, leased, or occupied by that unit of government.9 Such ordinances must “exempt any building used for public housing by private persons, highway rest areas, firing ranges, and private dwellings owned, leased, or controlled by that unit of government from any restriction on the carrying or possession of deadly weapons.”10 The Kentucky Attorney General has interpreted these provisions to mean that a county legislative body may prohibit or limit the carrying of concealed weapons in buildings in parks or portions of buildings in parks that it owns, leases, or controls. The county judge or executive (the chief elected official of counties in Kentucky) does not qualify as a “legislative body” and thus cannot regulate the carrying of concealed deadly weapons. That authority instead falls to the fiscal court of a county, which is the legislative body of a county.11

Kentucky has no statutes prohibiting firearms in:

• Hospitals;

• Places of worship;

• Sports arenas;

• Gambling facilities; or

• Polling places.


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  1. 2019 KY S 150.[]
  2. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.109(1).[]
  3. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.110(16).[]
  4. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.110(16).[]
  5. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.110(17).[]
  6. Id.[]
  7. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.125(1).[]
  8. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.125(3).[]
  9. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.115(1), (2).[]
  10. Id. This section is specifically deemed not to violate the preemption provisions of Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 65.870. Id. However, unless otherwise provided by state or federal law, no criminal penalty may attach to carrying a concealed firearm with a permit at any location at which an unconcealed firearm may constitutionally be carried. Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.115(3).[]
  11. 96 Ky. Op. Att’y Gen. 39, 1996 Ky. AG LEXIS 79. See also 96 Ky. Op. Att’y Gen. 45, 1996 Ky. AG LEXIS 91 (interpreting section 237.115(1) to mean the executive branch of the state government may promulgate an administrative regulation prohibiting those persons licensed to carry concealed deadly weapons from doing so in those portions of buildings owned, leased or occupied by the executive branch).[]