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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.

More Information and Where to Get Help

back to topI do not have a domestic violence order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of a crime. Can s/he carry a gun?

Possibly not.  Even if you do not have a domestic violence order against the abuser and s/he has not been convicted of any crime, it can still be illegal for him/her to have a gun under the following circumstances.  Under Kentucky state law, 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 is not a resident of Kentucky (although if s/he is on active military duty and is assigned to a military post in Kentucky at the time of the application, that is considered a resident for these purposes);
  • s/he is not a U.S. citizen or is not lawfully admitted to the U.S.;
  • s/he is under 21 years old;
  • s/he is currently under indictment for a felony (but has not yet been convicted);
  • s/he is a fugitive from justice;
  • s/he is an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance (drug);
  • s/he was adjudicated as a "mental defective" or s/he has been committed to a mental institution;
  • s/he was illegally or unlawfully in the United States;
  • s/he was admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (there are limited exceptions to this);
  • s/he was discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions;
  • s/he was a citizen of the United States but renounced (gave up) his/her citizenship;
  • s/he was committed to a state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance within the 3 years prior to filing the license application;
  • ​s/he chronically and habitually uses alcohol, which can be shown by having been committed as an alcoholic within the 3 years prior to filing the license application; or
  • s/he owes unpaid child support that is equal to or more than 1 year's worth of payments or s/he has not complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity proceedings (the license would only be denied under these circumstances if the Cabinet for Health and Family Services notifies the Department of Kentucky State Police of the arrears or failure to comply with the subpoena/warrant).* 

Even if none of these situations apply, you can still make a plan for your safety.  See our Staying Safe page for more information. You can also contact your local domestic violence organization for additional help.  You may want to talk to them about whether leaving the area - either long term or for a little while - might help improve your safety.  See our KY State and Local Programs page for referrals.

For additional information on gun laws in Kentucky, you can go to the Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence website.

* KRS § 237.110(4),(13)(a),(b)

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back to topI've read through all of this information and I am still confused. What can I do?

Trying to understand both federal and state law can be confusing but there are people out there who can help you better understand the law and your rights under the law.  You can:

  • Contact the National Center on Protection Orders and Full Faith & Credit to get more information about the firearm laws and how they apply to your situation: 1-800-903-0111 x 2.
  • Contact a local domestic violence organization in your area - see our KY State and Local Programs page.
  • Write to our Email Hotline.

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