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Know the Laws: Kentucky

UPDATED September 21, 2017

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Below is information about state gun laws in Kentucky.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate or lawyer in your community for more information on gun laws in your state. To find an agency, please go to the KY Where to Find Help page to find help.

Guns and Criminal Convictions

back to topIf the abuser has been convicted of a crime, can s/he keep or buy a gun?

Under Kentucky state law, if a convicted felon has a handgun in his/her possession, it is a Class C felony.  Possession of any other firearm by a convicted felon is a Class D felony.*  In addition, a person can be denied a license to carry concealed firearms, ammunition, or other deadly weapons (or if s/he already has a license to carry, it can be suspended or revoked) if any of the following apply:

  • s/he was convicted of a felony; 
  • s/he is currently under indictment for a felony;
  • s/he was convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence;
  • s/he was convicted of a misdemeanor crime related to controlled substances listed in Chapter 218A (or similar laws of any other state relating to controlled substances) within the 3 years prior to filing the license application; 
  • ​s/he has 2 or more convictions for DUI within the 3 years prior to filing the license application; or
  • s/he is a fugitive from justice.**

If the abuser has a license to carry a concealed firearms and then any of the above circumstances apply, s/he has to surrender his/her license or else it can be considered a Class A misdemeanor crime.***

Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if s/he was convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor.  Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

* KRS § 527.040(2)
** KRS § 237.110(4),(13)(a),(b)
*** KRS § 237.110(13)(i)

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back to topHow can I find out if the abuser has been convicted of a crime?

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are open to the public, but they are not always easy to access.  If you know the exact courthouse where the abuser may have been convicted, you can go to the courthouse and ask the clerk of court for access to those records.

Domestic violence misdemeanor and felony records are also kept in the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). However, no one other than law enforcement officials and licensed firearm sellers are allowed to search the NICS.  Your local police department may be willing to search NICS for you if you ask, but they are not required to do so.

To read more about the NICS, please see What will happen if the abuser tries to purchase a gun?

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