Kentucky has some of the weakest gun laws in the country, earning an F in our Annual Gun Law Scorecard. Kentucky allows any person 21 years or older who is legally able to purchase a firearm to carry it concealed in public, without a permit or background check. In 2017, Kentucky had the 16th-highest gun death rate in the country and supplied crime guns to other states at the eighth-highest rate. To save lives from gun violence, Kentucky could require background checks and waiting periods on all gun sales, and prohibit domestic abusers from possessing firearms.
State Law Background
Kentucky does not:
- Require a background check prior to the sale or transfer of a firearm by an unlicensed person;
- Conduct its own background checks for firearm sales, but instead relies on the FBI;
- Prohibit the transfer or possession of assault weapons, 50 caliber rifles or large capacity ammunition magazines;
- License firearm owners;
- Require the registration of firearms;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases;
- Regulate unsafe handguns;
- Require firearm owners to report lost or stolen firearms to law enforcement; or
- Significantly regulate ammunition sales.
Local governments in Kentucky generally lack authority to regulate firearms or ammunition, and the state requires local law enforcement to issue a concealed handgun license to any applicant who meets certain basic qualifications.
In 2017, Kentucky had the 16th highest gun death rate among the states. Kentucky also supplied crime guns to other states at the eighth highest rate among the states. Kentucky exported crime guns at more than twice the national rate and more than twice the rate at which it imported crime guns from other states.