Kentucky Becomes 17th Constitutional Carry State with Signature from Governor

With Gov. Bevin’s signature, Kentucky joins 16 other states that allow “constitutional carry.”

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin signed a law Monday that will allow residents over the age of 21 to carry concealed firearms without a permit as long as they meet the requirements to own a firearm. Kentucky joins 16 other states that allow for some form of “constitutional carry.”

Gov. Bevin told local media that the bill supports the right to keep and bear arms, and he noted that Kentucky won’t be alone in allowing residents to carry without a permit.

“It recognizes the Second Amendment of the Constitution of the United States,” he said. “That’s really it. It doesn’t break new ground.”

To those who disagree with the new policy, Bevin had a clear message.

“This is America. Not everybody agrees on everything. That’s the beauty of America,” he said. “For those people who are offended at this idea and don’t like it, there are other places in America where they could live and/or they can learn to live with what they don’t like in their own immediate state.”

The measure passed the Kentucky Senate on a 28-to-8 vote last month, and it passed the House by a 60-to-37 vote last week.

SEE ALSO: South Dakota Headed for Constitutional Carry with Senate Win

Supporters also argued that since the state already allows for open carry without a permit or training, constitutional carry won’t change the status quo.

“This bill decriminalizes wearing a coat in the state of Kentucky,” National Rifle Association state director Art Thomm said in a committee hearing.

Firearms instructors weren’t so supportive.

“Without proper training, carrying a gun close to your body like that, I just don’t see any good coming from it,” Latreese Cannon, a certified firearms instructor for the state, told local media. “… Basically just giving them a license to carry to kill. It’s kind of scary.”

“If you have to use it, you need to know how to disarm it. You need to know how to operate it. You need to know how your weapon works,” Cannon continued. “Just carrying around a gun and knowing nothing about it – detrimental.”

The Kentucky State Fraternal Order of Police also worried that armed and untrained residents won’t know how to act when stopped by law enforcement. They wrote in a Facebook post that while they are “very much supportive of citizens rights,” they are concerned “for the general public to know what to do if encountering law enforcement while armed.

SEE ALSO: Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin Vetoes Constitutional Carry

They encourage anyone stopped by police to follow the acronym FOP: “Firearm – let us know if you have a firearm and don’t reach for it, Obey – do what the officer asks of you, Precision – make all moves very direct and tell us what you are doing.”

Out-of-state activists weighed in as well.

Fred Guttenberg, whose daughter was killed in the Parkland massacre, described the bill as a “major setback” in an interview with Newsweek.

“This bill has nothing to do with public safety and is simply going to make it easier to sell more guns,” Guttenberg said. “Shame on the legislators who have given up on their responsibility to defend the right to life of Kentucky citizens and to take steps to keep them free of gun violence. I hope the donations they receive from the (National Rifle Association) is worth it.”

Kentucky’s new policy will likely take effect this summer.

(Editor’s Note: There have been some questions as to whether Kentucky is the 16th or the 17th state to adopt Constitutional carry.  According to the NRA-ILA, it’s the 16th after Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.  However, we reported it was the 17th because we, like the Crime Prevention Research Center, include Montana, which is permitless in 99.4 percent of the state.)

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About the author: Jordan Michaels has been reviewing firearm-related products for over six years and enjoying them for much longer. With family in Canada, he’s seen first hand how quickly the right to self-defense can be stripped from law-abiding citizens. He escaped that statist paradise at a young age, married a sixth-generation Texan, and currently lives in Tyler. Got a hot tip? Send him an email at

{ 16 comments… add one }
  • Dan Gore April 17, 2019, 1:13 pm

    In Iowa, if you have a permit to carry weapons, you can have loaded firearms in your vehicle. We also have shall issue for permits to carry weapons. Could be better, but not as anti 2nd amendment as some think.

  • GERALD BRUGGEMAN March 15, 2019, 10:35 pm

    Wake up Illinois those of us who support our 2 Amendment rights are and will leave this state by the numbers, a lot of us have already left and thank God we have.making it had on Law bidding citizens by taking our freedom away will not be your miracle answer it will just fall back in your faces

  • John Hoglin March 15, 2019, 9:11 pm

    It would appear that Ms. Cannon believes her fellow citizens are not very smart. Perhaps they are not a tactical operator or a 5.11 mall warrior. The same BS was said by anti-gunners about Florida way back when they were the first to allow the masses to arm them selves. Never trust those who will not trust their citizens.

  • AJ March 15, 2019, 5:11 pm

    These idiots… There is no right to life. Nature dictates that. If there was an absolute right to life, people wouldn’t get sick, cancer wouldn’t even be a thing. There is a right to live your life how you see fit, and a right to defend your life, but no right to keep breathing. No, you have to work for that.

    Plenty of people will disagree, and to that I give you evidence. For example, you can go out into the woods and scream at the top of your lungs, nature won’t stop you. You can go out into the woods and chop down a tree with a fucking shotgun, nature won’t step in. But when a bear comes to notice you, you’ve got two options, fight or run away.

    Another example is disease. A right to live would mean you could just choose not to get sick. But obviously that doesn’t happen. Vaccination, antibiotics, surgery, all defending life. Working towards continuing that life.

    Our constitutional rights, given to us by a higher power, or nature, allow us to live how we choose. Where as laws criminalizing certain actions, such as muder, are there to defend your life.

    In this world, the right to life is an ignorant assumption. No matter how “enlightened” society becomes, there will always be outside forces trying to bring about your demise. So there can be no right to life. Assuming there is, is basically saying death is illegal.

  • Russell Van March 15, 2019, 12:41 pm

    Oklahoma’s New Governor, Kevin Stitt, has just signed into law Constitutional Carry in the State of Oklahoma. Law becomes effective November 1, 2019.

    • Tod March 15, 2019, 6:45 pm

      I know I could just look it up faster , but …age limit?

  • Fujian Xiamen Guo March 15, 2019, 4:51 am

    I am a resident of the People’s Republic of Illinois, and the very communized City of Chicago, Crook County, and Springfield. The Great State of Illinois has joined Kalifornia, Oregon, Washington State, New York, New Jersey, Vermont, Iowa, Arizona, Michigan….in suppressing and doing away with the 2nd Amendment…. I have friends who have moved to Kentucky. I trust I will have to follow them there, too. Besides, there are good Sushi places and also not-so-bad Cantonese restaurants in and near Lexington.

    • John L March 15, 2019, 11:00 am

      Arizona? LOL. You might want to educate yourself on state gun laws.

  • JoeUSooner March 14, 2019, 3:21 am

    These anti-gun idiots are completely and grossly unaware that the NRA is not the gun industry’s official lobbying arm (that’s the NSSF). Nor are these two-watt-bulb-for-brains aware of the comparatively small amount of money spent by the NRA for political purposes. Those fools (like Guttenberg) don’t even know who their supposed “enemy” actually is!!

    The NSSF spends at least 38 times as much as the NRA on political donations annually. And if these clowns really want to engage… this nation’s leftist labor unions in 2016 spent 140 times as much money on lobbying as the NSSF and the NRA combined! [Shall we discuss just exactly who is “buying” whom in Congress??]

  • Kevin McCarthy March 13, 2019, 3:00 pm

    When Alaska went to no permit to Conceal Carry – the opposition assured everyone it would be ‘The Wild, Wild West all over again” along with “The street flowing with blood, shoot outs on every street corner” and ‘untrained people shooting each other daily’. That was 15 years ago and it never happened. When Florida joined the club – the same things were promised by anti-gunners – and yet again – it never happened. Women have been in the military since the late 70’s. 40 years of women training with guns – yet – every guy who looks at a women see’s a helpless victim. My favorite point, the guys who say “Women need to own a revolver because automatics are way too complicated”…… my response, “Have you seen what it takes to run a modern sewing machine? If they can figure that out, along with the TV remote – they just a step down from rocket scientists and your too ignorant to notice” Saying that hasn’t won me any friends but its the truth.

    • john March 15, 2019, 2:56 pm

      What kinda stupid ass people require been told this? You live in dark age Europe or something? I mean I agree with everything you said, just sounds like you might be from an area with a lot of ignorance to say the least

  • DIYinSTL March 13, 2019, 8:56 am

    I had the same safety concerns as Latreese Cannon when Constitutional Carry was passed in Missouri. It’s been in effect for more than 2 years now and there have been no problems big enough to make the news. If Cannon loses customers wanting permits then he needs to accept it or expand his training repertoire; every business must adapt to changes or accept failure.

  • Ernest March 12, 2019, 7:49 pm

    People don’t train. Train kids every year in public schools gun rights & safety. Problem solved. When that generation graduates you’ll have the safest state ever.

  • J March 12, 2019, 6:41 pm

    You get Constitutional Carry in Kentucky that already had full open carry of any firearm. Kentucky also has the great Car Carry law that was also carried over into this bill that other states do not have. You can not drive around with your firearms in other states like you can Kentucky. You can not escape it, you have to travel from place to place and we need good car carry laws like Kentucky.

    • AJ March 15, 2019, 6:44 pm

      Yeah the only problem was verbage .. open carry is one thing, but then if you wear a jacket and it covers any part of the firearm it could then be considered”concealed”. And then if “concealed” carry requires a permit, it is somehow illegal. It’s stupid how laws that criminalize are taken so literally but then the laws that pertain to our rights are up for interpretation.

  • J March 12, 2019, 6:34 pm

    I thought Kentucky was the 16th state to get Constitutional Carry.

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