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What are the Gun Laws in Kentucky?

A Synopsis of State Laws on Purchase Possession and Carrying of Firearms


The National Rifle Association Kicks Off Its Annual Meeting In Louisville
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Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.

Quick Reference

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No
  • Registration of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No


  • Permit to purchase handgun? No
  • Registration of handguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No
  • Permit to carry handguns? Yes


No state permit is required to purchase a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.

Residents of the Commonwealth of Kentucky who are citizens of the United States shall have the right to purchase or otherwise acquire rifles, shotguns, handguns, and any other firearms which they are permitted to purchase or otherwise acquire under federal law and the Kentucky Revised Statutes from properly licensed dealers, manufacturers, importers, or collectors, and unlicensed individual person in Kentucky or in any other state or nation outside of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.


No state permit is required to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.


It is unlawful to carry a concealed firearm on or about one's person. This applies to carrying a concealed firearm in one's own premises or dwelling.

Exempt from this prohibition are persons issued a license to carry concealed firearms, police officers, agents and messengers of express companies when on duty, and U.S. mail carriers on duty.

"Concealed on or about the person" has been recently defined as "concealment in such proximity to the person as to be convenient of access and within immediate physical reach."

Kentucky courts consider firearms located under a driver's seat concealed "on or about" the person, and are, therefore, unlawful. Firearms located in glove compartments, locked or unlocked, are not considered concealed.

The Department of Kentucky State Police shall issue a license to carry concealed firearms if the applicant:

  • Is a citizen of the United States who is a resident of this Commonwealth and has been a resident for 6 months or longer.

  • Is a citizen of the United States who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States who is on active duty, who is at the time of application assigned to a military posting in Kentucky, and who has been assigned to a posting in the Commonwealth for 6 months or longer immediately preceding the filing of the application.

  • Is at least 21 years of age.

  • Is not ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to federal or state law.

  • Is not a fugitive from justice.

  • Is not under indictment for, or have been convicted of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.

  • Has not been adjudicated an incompetent and has not been involuntarily committed to a mental institution.

  • Has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

  • Has not been committed to a state or federal facility for the abuse of a controlled substance or been convicted of a misdemeanor relating to controlled substances within 3 years.

  • Does not have two or more convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability within 3 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted.

  • Does not owe a child support arrearage which equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after 1 year of nonpayment.

  • Has complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity proceedings.

  • Has not been convicted of a violation of Assault in the fourth degree or Terroristic Threatening in the third degree within the three 3 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted.

  • Demonstrates competence with a firearm by successful completion of a firearms safety course offered or approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Training.

The firearms safety course shall:
    a) Be not more than 8 hours in length.

    b) Include instruction on handguns, the safe use of handguns, the care and cleaning of handguns and handgun marksmanship principles.

    c) Include actual range firing of a handgun in a safe manner and the firing of not more than 20 rounds at a full-size silhouette target, during which firing, not less than 11 rounds must hit the silhouette portion of the target.

    d) Include information on and a copy of laws relating to possession and carrying of firearms and laws relating to the use of force.

The application shall be obtained from and submitted to the office of the sheriff in the county in which the applicant resides. The application fee is $60. The license is valid statewide for 5 years. The applicant shall submit a recent color photograph and a photocopy of a certificate of completion of a course that demonstrates competence with a firearm. The application will be sent to the Kentucky State Police within five working days.

The Department of Kentucky State Police shall, within 90 days, either issue a license or deny the application, in which case the applicant shall be informed in writing of the grounds for denial and his right to submit, within 30 days, documentation relating to the denial.

The applicant shall also be informed of the right to seek review of the denial in the District Court of his place of residence. The applicant shall further be informed of their right to seek de novo review of the denial in the District Court of his or her place of residence.

Effective July 12, 2006, U.S. citizenship is required to be eligible to obtain a CCDW license. A CCDW License Application- Citizenship Affidavit must be completed and submitted to the sheriff of your county of residence to be attached to the application.

The licensee shall carry the license at all times the licensee is carrying a concealed firearm or other deadly weapon.

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