Kentucky lawmaker launches new attempt at constitutional carry

Kentucky Republican state Rep. Wesley Morgan argues "The government does not have the right to tell you to get a license to carry something that the constitution gives you the right to do." (Photo: LRC Public Information)

Kentucky Republican state Rep. Wesley Morgan argues “The government does not have the right to tell you to get a license to carry something that the constitution gives you the right to do.” (Photo: LRC Public Information)

A Republican has pre-filed a bill for the upcoming session that would renew the legislative push to let the Second Amendment serve in place of a concealed carry permit.

The measure, BR172, was submitted last month for the 2018 session by state Rep. Wesley Morgan, a Republican from Richmond, and would protect the right of Kentuckians legally able to possess a firearm to carry one concealed in public.

“Basically what we’re saying is you don’t have to have a concealed carry license, but it never was a requirement in the Second Amendment,” said Morgan, who was once an ATF agent. “The government does not have the right to tell you to get a license to carry something that the constitution gives you the right to do.”

Morgan’s seven-page bill would modify Kentucky’s current concealed carry laws to protect the right of those 21-years-old and over to carry a concealed firearm or deadly weapon without a permit. It would not replace the current permitting system, which is widely accepted outside of the state through reciprocity agreements.

According to information from the Kentucky State Police, 437,815 Concealed Deadly Weapons permits have been issued since 1996. The shall-issue permits cost $60 and are granted or denied within 90 days providing the applicant passes the required training requirements and background checks. Open carry is constitutionally protected in the state.

Morgan’s measure would be at least the third consecutive attempt by Kentucky Republicans to implement a permitless concealed carry provision to state law in as many years.

In the last session a Senate bill, SB 7, failed to gain traction over concerns about the law allowing 18-year-olds to carry concealed weapons. In 2016, gun control advocates took credit for derailing bicameral proposals, citing polling paid for by the groups that held Kentuckians oppose allowing people to carry hidden, loaded guns in public without a permit or training.

The GOP holds an impressive majority in both chambers of the Kentucky General Assembly which is set to convene its 2018 session in January.

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, a Republican, last year was a featured speaker at the National Rifle Association’s Annual Meeting held in Louisville.