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Legal Information: Kentucky

State Gun Laws

Laws current as of November 15, 2023

I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?

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;1
  • s/he was convicted of a felony;2 (Note: possession of a handgun by a convicted felon is also a Class C felony and possession of any other firearm by a convicted felon is a Class D felony);3
  • 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 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 has a protection order issued against him/her and:
    1. it was issued after notice and a hearing;
    2. the order restrains him/her from:
      • harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner (or the partner’s child); or
      • engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner (or the partner’s child); and
    3. it includes a finding that s/he represents a credible threat to the physical safety of an intimate partner (or the partner’s child) or it specifically prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against an intimate partner (or the partner’s child) that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury;2
  • s/he was committed to a state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance within the three years prior to filing the license application;
  • 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 three years prior to filing the license application;
  • ​s/he chronically and habitually uses alcohol, which can be shown by either:
    • having two or more convictions for DUI within the three years prior to filing the license application; or
    • having been committed as an alcoholic within the three years prior to filing the license application; or
  • s/he owes unpaid child support that is equal to or more than one 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).1

If the abuser already has a license to carry concealed firearms and you get a domestic violence order or emergency protective order against him/her, s/he has to surrender that license to the court or to the law enforcement officer who serves him/her with the order. The license will then be suspended until the order is terminated (or until the judge who issued the order terminates the suspension of the license before the order ends). If the abuser is a peace officer and an emergency protective order or domestic violence order is issued against him/her, s/he cannot carry a concealed deadly weapon while off-duty (but s/he can use it while on duty).4

Note: The failure of a license holder to surrender his/her license if any of the above conditions apply is considered a Class A misdemeanor crime.5

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 or if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

1 KRS § 237.110(4),(13)(a),(b)
2 KRS § 237.110(4),(13)(a),(b); 18 USC § 922(g),(n)
3 KRS § 527.040(2)
4 KRS § 237.110(13)(k)
5 KRS § 237.110(13)(i)