The bill passed the Senate by a 29-8 vote.
Senate Bill 150, dubbed the permitless carry bill, states that people 21 or older who are able to lawfully possess a firearm may carry a concealed weapon without a license in the same locations as people with valid state-issued licenses. Another provision states no one would be allowed to carry or possess any deadly weapon where it is already prohibited by federal law.
Sponsor Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, said he wanted to stop making criminals out of individuals who happen to slip a gun in their pocket.
Sen. Danny Carroll, R-Paducah, said he opposed SB 150 because it doesn’t require gun training and safety classes.
“Most people in this body know my career was in law enforcement,” he said. “For 24 years, I depended on firearms to protect me and to allow me to protect my community. However, as part of that responsibility, I had to receive training at least once a year.”
He said that training not only included how to shoot a gun, but also how to clean it, store it and – most importantly – when it was legally justified to use it.
Sen. Wil Schroder, R-Wilder, spoke in support of SB 150. He noted that the Kentucky Constitution already guarantees the right to open carry, or carry a firearm that is not concealed.
“You are going to have bad actors out there,” said Schroder, a former prosecutor. “You can walk up on someone today and not know if they have a concealed weapon on them.”
SB 150 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.