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Kentucky Gun Control Laws

The Bluegrass State's gun control laws are designed to try to balance the interests of gun owners and those worried about gun violence. Here's an introduction to gun control laws in Kentucky.

Gun Control Laws in Kentucky

States regulate and restrict the purchase and use of firearms under specific gun control laws. While the Second Amendment allows for the possession of certain weapons and accessories, others, like armor-piercing bullets, are illegal under Kentucky law.

Along with Kentucky's particular gun laws, federal authorities also regulate gun ownership by limiting the types of firearms a person may legally own. And in cases where federal and state laws intersect, federal law supersedes state law. Thus, all gun owners in the state of Kentucky must also adhere to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act.

Kentucky Gun Statutes

The table below highlights the specifics of Kentucky's gun control statutes.

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

  • Armor-piercing or "black talon" ammunition
  • Defaced firearm

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Kentucky.

Who May Not Own

The following persons can't own a firearm in Kentucky:
  • People with a felony conviction, including youthful offenders, unless they are granted a full pardon or relief.
  • People under 18 years old (except when hunting or with permission of a parent).
  • People who are prohibited from purchasing firearms under federal law.

License Required?

You don't need a license to purchase or own a firearm in Kentucky.

Concealed Carry License Required?

You don't need a license to carry a concealed firearm in Kentucky.

Open Carried Allowed?

Open carry is allowed in Kentucky.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

In order to qualify for a concealed license, you must:
  • Be 21 or older
  • Be eligible to possess a firearm under Kentucky and federal law
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted to the country
  • Not be convicted of terroristic threats or assault three years before applying for the permit
  • Not have two or more DUI convictions or be committed to a hospital for alcohol addiction
  • Not owe one year or more child support payment
  • Complete a firearm safety training course

Nonresidents can carry concealed weapons if they have a license from another state.

Machine Gun Laws

You can own a machine gun in Kentucky if you comply with federal registration requirements.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • Possession of a firearm by a person with a felony conviction is a class D felony that carries a prison sentence of up to five years. (It's a class C felony if the firearm is a handgun.)
  • Possession of a firearm by a minor is a Class A Misdemeanor (for the first offense) or Class D felony (for subsequent offenses).

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

Unlawful possession of a firearm on or near school grounds is a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Kentucky Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

Need Help With a Gun Matter?

Firearms statutes can vary based on where you live and can be confusing. You can contact a Kentucky attorney if you would like legal assistance with a gun matter, or would just like to know your rights and responsibilities as a gun owner.

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