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February 15, 2009

Open Carry in Kentucky

**UPDATE: I have an updated Open Carry post. Click Here to read!

Let me start off by staying this, if you can legally own a handgun, you can openly carry it in Kentucky regardless of the state you live in. You can carry into any building or business except for banks, courthouses or if the business has it posted you cannot carry. Kentucky even allows a concealed handgun license holder to carry concealed into an establishment that serves alcohol. Opencarry.org describes Kentucky as a "gold stare state" meaning "There is complete state preemption of all firearms laws, open carry is constitutionally protected with court precedent and law enforcement is aware of its legality."

Open Carry History (Wikipedia)

Open Carry was common during the pioneer era and in the American Old West According to UCLA historian Dr. Roger McGrath in his book Gunfighters, Highwaymen and Vigilantes: Violence in the Old West, the rates of murder, robbery, rape, and other assorted violent crimes in the western United States were far lower than they are today, and McGrath attributes those lower rates directly to the open carry of firearms. McGrath states that "the young, the old, and the female—those most vulnerable—were far safer in the most wild and wooly frontier towns than they are in any American city today," because "people had arms, knew how to use them, and were willing to fight with deadly force to protect their persons or property." However, crime rates overall were much lower in the United States in the 19th century.

Kentucky Preemption Law

In Kentucky, the constitution has a preemptive gun law, which means that no local governments (city or county) can pass any law restricting gun rights. Bars, grocery stores, restaurants, malls, are all legal for carry openly. Open carry also applies to motor vehicles. KRS 527.020 states "A deadly weapon shall not be deemed concealed on or about the person if it is located in a glove compartment, regularly installed in a motor vehicle by its manufacturer regardless of whether said compartment is locked, unlocked, or does not have a locking mechanism." This means you can carry in the glove box without a license, and you can also carry a loaded handgun in the seat in plain site and it is totally legal.

Kentucky has really relaxed gun laws, is among the best states regarding gun laws. There are many hunters and sportsman living in Kentucky and we all value our Second Amendment right to bear arms and I personally exercise my right to bear arms. Our founding fathers founded the country on the right to bear arms, and it is one of the key rights that make a nation truly free. Our right to bear arms is guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States to defend ourselves from criminals or from the government themselves.

It is also legal in Kentucky to carry a firearm while parking in a government parking garage, to carry a firearm into the airport to meet someone, to pick-up or drop-off children at school, to carry on all college campuses, to carry into a church, or also go into a highway rest stop with a firearm. Employers also must allow employees the right to keep guns in their vehicles at work.

Kentucky Bill of Rights, Section I

"All men are, by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: First: The right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties. Seventh: The right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the State, subject to the power of the General Assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons."