Kentucky follows the "Shall-Issue," constitutional carry principle. All firearm purchases do not require a permit, with zero waiting time and registration. Background checks are only required when purchasing from a Federal Firearms Dealer. Anyone who's at least 18-years-old is allowed to open carry, as long as they are not prohibited from carrying a handgun. However, it is essential to note that the State placed off-limit areas that prohibit carrying a firearm.
For concealed carry, since the State follows constitutional carry, anyone who's 21-years-old and above and can legally possess a firearm is allowed to carry a concealed handgun even without a permit. Those who wish to conceal carry to other States, a Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons (CCDW) License is required, which is issued by the Sheriff's office. The primary requirement in acquiring a CCDW license is the completion of the state-approved firearms training course.
Permit Issuance is limited to residents and military personnel only. Non-residents permit are not available in the State of Kentucky. In terms of reciprocity, Kentucky honors all licenses issued by other States.
CCDW License Process
- The applicant MUST be at least 21-years-old to apply.
- A legal U.S. citizen.
- Resided in Kentucky for at least six months prior to application.
- Not have been committed to a state or federal facility for abuse of a controlled substance or convicted of a misdemeanor relating to a controlled substance within the last three years prior to application.
- Not have two or more convictions for Operating motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability within the last three years prior to application.
- Not have been committed as an alcoholic within the last three years.
- Not owe a child support arrearage which equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after one year of nonpayment.
- Have complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity proceedings.
- Have not been convicted of Assault in the fourth degree or (Terroristic Threatening in the third degree within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted.
- Meet Federal Law requirements.
To apply for a CCDW License, please follow these steps:
- Complete a state-approved firearms training course.
- Bring your training certificate and passport-type photo to the Sheriff's office.
- Complete the Application Form and sign under oath.
- Pay the $60 License Fee.
- You'll be notified via mail if your application has been approved.
In renewing your existing CCDW License, the Department of State Police will mail all licensees a written notice 120 days before expiration. You are required to have your license renewed within the given timeframe. For late renewals, an additional $15 late fee will be charged. However, if your license remained unrenewed six months or more after the expiration date, your license will be deemed permanently expired. Hence, you'll have to process a new application.
Here's how to renew your license:
- Take the renewal notice and a passport-style photograph to the Sheriff of your county of residence.
- For non-U.S. citizens, you must complete and submit the Citizenship Affidavit to the Sheriff of your county of residence to have it attached to your renewal form.
- Pay the $20 renewal fee.
- You'll be notified via mail if your application has been approved.
Here is the summary of all the license fees:
- Standard Application:
- Original - $60
- Renewal - $60
- Peace Officer - No fees
- Retired Peace Officer - No fees
- Late Renewal Fee - $15
- Replacement - $15
- County Sheriff Charges - $20
- Kentucky State Treasurer Fee - $40 (via check or money order)
Kentucky CCW Basics
Must Notify Officer
No - Must Notify Officer
The State of Kentucky does not require you to inform a law enforcement officer when approached on official business. However, it is highly recommended to carry your permit at all times.
Reference: KRS 237.110
Yes - Vehicle Carry Allowed Without Permit
Kentucky allows any person not prohibited from possessing a firearm to carry a loaded or unloaded firearm in a vehicle in any closed container, compartment, or storage space installed as original equipment in a motor vehicle by its manufacturer, including but not limited to a glove compartment, center console, or seat pocket, regardless of whether the enclosed container, storage space or compartment is locked, unlocked or does not have a locking mechanism.
Reference: 302 KRS 21:020 General Provisions
No Weapons Allowed
Yes/No - "No Weapons Allowed" May Be Enforced
There is no provision stated in the Kentucky Gun Laws regarding the "No Weapons Allowed" sign. However, the State authorizes private businesses to ban concealed carry on their premises -- not including open carry. Facilities that lease or rent housing are not permitted to restrict concealed carry.
Private employers can prohibit their employees from concealing a handgun or other deadly weapons in company-owned vehicles. However, concealed carry in cars owned by an individual is allowed, as stated in the "Vehicle Carry" regulation.
State and Local Governments are allowed to ban carrying weapons within their buildings only.
Reference: KRS 237.110
Kentucky Gun Forms & Supporting Documentation
Purchase and Possession
A state permit is not required for the purchase of a rifle, shotgun, or handgun. Kentucky residents, who are U.S. citizens, shall have the right to purchase or obtain rifles, shotguns, or handguns from licensed dealers, manufacturers, importers, collectors, or unlicensed individuals within the state of Kentucky, and from other states or nations, under federal law and the Kentucky Revised Statutes.
A permit is not required from the state to possess a rifle, shotgun, or handgun.
Carrying a Firearm
It is legal to carry a handgun in an open manner except within restricted areas. It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm on or about the person without a license to do so. It is legal however, to carry a concealed weapon on property owned or leased by an individual. Family members (immediate) may carry on an individual’s property with his/her permission. Business owners may carry concealed on the premises of property owned or leased by them. Law enforcement officers, messengers or agents of express companies while in the course of their duties, and U.S. mail carriers may carry concealed firearms during working hours.
The term, “Concealed on or about the person” refers to, “concealment in such proximity to the person as to be conveniently accessed and within immediate physical reach.” It is illegal to stow a firearm under the driver’s seat and is considered, “on or about the person” for carrying purposes. A firearm placed in a glove compartment, whether locked or unlocked, is not considered concealed.
A license to carry firearms concealed, shall be issued by The Department of Kentucky State Police, provided the applicant:
- has resided in the state of Kentucky for a period of at least six months, and is a U.S. citizen;
- has been on active U.S. military duty in the state of Kentucky for a period of at least six months, and is a U.S. citizen;
- is age 21 or older;
- has not been determined to be ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law;
- is not a fugitive from justice;
- has not been convicted of any crime that is punishable for a period greater than one year and is not currently under indictment for such a crime;
- has not been determined to be incompetent or has not been committed to a mental institution involuntarily;
- has not been convicted of a domestic violence misdemeanor crime;
- has not been convicted of a misdemeanor crime involving a controlled substance in the past three years, or been committed to a state or federal facility for controlled substance abuse within that period;
- has not been convicted of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs or alcohol within the preceding three years;
- does not owe child support arrears that would equal or exceed non-payment for one year;
- has been in compliance with any court subpoenas, paternity proceedings, or warrants related to child support;
- has not been convicted of fourth degree violent assault or third degree terroristic threatening in the three years prior to application; and
- has completed a firearms safety course satisfactorily, approved by the Department of Criminal Justice. The firearms safety course must:
- not be for a period greater than eight hours;
- include handgun safety, the cleaning of handguns, and handgun marksmanship principles;
- include range firing at full-size silhouette targets whereby the applicant fires no more than 20 rounds of ammunition and hits the silhouette at least 11 times; and provide a copy of laws relating to the possession and carrying of firearms, and the use of force.
An application to carry a handgun concealed may be obtained from the sheriff’s office in the county of the applicant’s residence. The license shall be valid for a period of five years and requires an application fee of $60. A recent color photograph and a photocopy of a completion certificate from an authorized program that demonstrates competency with firearms must be submitted with the application as well. The application, and attached items must be delivered to the county sheriff’s office and will be forwarded to the Kentucky State Police within five business days. The Department will issue a license within 90 days, or provide a statement of denial in writing that will include the reason for the decision. The applicant may submit documentation relating to the denial within 30 days and has the right to seek review and also, de novo review in the District Court of his/her residence.
Persons belonging to the U.S. military may apply for renewal of a concealed weapons license early and by mail. Military personnel may renew a license within 90 days after the end of deployment (if an active duty member) with no penalties or late fees.
Any active or retired peace officer may be certified or recertified to carry firearms with proof of successful completion of a Kentucky Law Enforcement Council approved firearms instructor course.
U.S. citizenship is required, effective July 12, 2006, to obtain a CCDW license. A citizenship affidavit and a CCDW license application must be completed and submitted to the sheriff’s office for the county in which the applicant resides. The license must be carried at all times while carrying a concealed firearm or deadly weapon. A licensee is restricted from carrying a concealed firearm into:
- any law enforcement office including a police or sheriff station;
- any jail, prison, or detention facility;
- any courthouse, that is occupied only by a courtroom, or any court proceeding;
- any meeting of a municipality including the county, or special district, or meeting of the General Assembly, unless a member of that governing body;
- any area within an establishment licensed to serve alcoholic beverages for consumption on its premises that is reserved for this purpose;
- any child care center, or primary or secondary education facility;
- an airport in an area where inspection of an individual takes place; and
- any location where federal law prohibits the carrying of firearms.
No employer or other person may prohibit an individual from storing a legally possessed firearm, component of a firearm, or ammunition in his/her vehicle while parked on property owned, leased or occupied by the employer or other person. This does not apply to detention facilities, United States government owned properties, or areas where Kentucky Revised Statutes prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms.
A loaded handgun may be carried in the state of Kentucky in any motor vehicle provided that it is stored in a storage space, container, or compartment that has been originally installed by the manufacturer of the vehicle.
The state of Kentucky provides for reciprocity with other states issuing valid carrying licenses if those states honor Kentucky licenses to carry concealed firearms. Individuals who possess a license to carry concealed from another state may apply for a Kentucky state license to do so.
Antiques & Replicas
The state of Kentucky does not maintain separate regulations for antique firearms or replicas of firearms. In matters regarding possession and carry, these are considered ordinary firearms.
A machine gun may be legally purchased, possessed, or sold if it is legally registered and in compliance with federal laws and regulations.
If a shooting range has been in operation for a period of at least one year, it shall not be considered a nuisance, either public or private, on the basis of changed conditions around the range location.
KY. REV. STAT. § 237.210 Effect of changed conditions on nuisance actions involving shooting ranges; standing to sue; limitation of liability; prohibition against retroactive application of laws
(1) No shooting range shall be or shall become a nuisance, either public or private, solely as a result of changed conditions in or around the locality of the range if the range has been in operation for one (1) year since the date on which it commenced operation as a shooting range. Subsequent physical expansion of the range or expansion of the types of firearms in use at the range shall not establish a new date of commencement of operations for purposes of this section unless the change triples the amount of the noise produced by the shooting range. The increase in the noise level at the shooting range shall be measured by an independent testing agency or a unit of government and shall compare the highest noise levels during any one (1) month during which the range is in full operation with a subsequent month in which the range is in full operation and conducting a comparable level of shooting activities. Only a person who lives adjacent to the shooting range shall have standing to bring an action under this section.
(2) No shooting range or unit of government or person owning, operating, or using a shooting range for the shooting of firearms shall be subject to any action for civil or criminal liability, damages, abatement, or injunctive relief resulting from or relating to noise generated by the operation of the range if the range remains in compliance with noise control or nuisance abatement administrative regulations, statutes, or ordinances applicable to the range on the date on which it commenced operation.
(3) No administrative regulations, statutes, or ordinances relating to noise control, noise pollution, or noise abatement adopted or enacted by a unit of government shall be applied retroactively to prohibit conduct at a shooting range, which conduct was lawful and being engaged in prior to the adoption or enactment of the administrative regulations, statutes, or ordinances.
Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity
Kentucky's Reciprocity States
States honoring a Kentucky license
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Licenses Kentucky honors
Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
Districts & Territories
District of Columbia, New York City, Guam, Puerto Rico, Virgin Islands
States not honoring a Kentucky license
California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington.
Districts & Territories
District of Columbia
It is illegal to cover, alter, destroy, or remove a manufacturer’s serial number or any other identifying mark on any firearm. Possession of such a firearm is illegal and should be reported immediately to police upon discovery to avoid prosecution.
It is illegal to shoot an animal from a motor vehicle whether protected or unprotected. Boats, except as prohibited by state or federal regulations may be used in the course of shooting animals.
It is illegal to shoot any firearm across a highway.
Firearms, components of firearms, ammunition, or any combination thereof may not be regulated in any manner including transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, or transportation by any city, county, or urban-county government.
An individual will not be held liable for damages incurred from the illegal or criminal use of a firearm by any third party that results in injury to another person, unless he/she aided or conspired with that person to commit criminal acts.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky retains sole authority to bring suit against any firearms dealer or manufacturer involving the sale of firearms or ammunition to the general public.
Any person who may legally possess a firearm in accordance with state and federal law, may carry a firearm for defense purposes of self, others, or property during bow-hunting season. This shall apply to lands controlled by the department, whether public or private, and on private lands where the owner does not post the prohibition of a concealed deadly weapon.
Kentucky Off Limits Statues
237.110 - License To Carry Concealed Deadly Weapon
(16) Except as provided in KRS 527.020, no license issued pursuant to this section shall authorize any person to carry a concealed firearm into:
(a) Any police station or sheriff's office;
(b) Any detention facility, prison, or jail;
(c) Any courthouse, solely occupied by the Court of Justice courtroom, or court proceeding;
(d) Any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district; or any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly, except that nothing in this section shall preclude a member of the body, holding a concealed deadly weapon license, from carrying a concealed deadly weapon at a meeting of the body of which he or she is a member; (e) Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense beer or alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to that purpose;
(f) Any elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of school authorities as provided in KRS 527.070, any child-caring facility as defined in KRS 199.011, any day-care center as defined in KRS 199.894, or any certified family child-care home as defined in KRS 199.8982, except however, any owner of a certified child-care home may carry a concealed firearm into the owner's residence used as a certified child-care home;
(g) An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property; or
(h) Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
(17) The owner, business or commercial lessee, or manager of a private business enterprise, day-care center as defined in KRS 199.894 or certified or licensed family child-care home as defined in KRS 199.8982, or a health-care facility licensed under KRS Chapter 216B, except facilities renting or leasing housing, may prohibit persons holding concealed deadly weapon licenses from carrying concealed deadly weapons on the premises and may prohibit employees, not authorized by the employer, holding concealed deadly weapon licenses from carrying concealed deadly weapons on the property of the employer. If the building or the premises are open to the public, the employer or business enterprise shall post signs on or about the premises if carrying concealed weapons is prohibited. Possession of weapons, or ammunition, or both in a vehicle on the premises shall not be a criminal offense so long as the weapons, or ammunition, or both are not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises. A private but not a public employer may prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons, or ammunition, or both in vehicles owned by the employer, but may not prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons, or ammunition, or both in vehicles owned by the employee, except that the Justice and Public Safety Cabinet may prohibit an employee from carrying any weapons, or ammunition, or both other than the weapons, or ammunition, or both issued or authorized to be used by the employee of the cabinet, in a vehicle while transporting persons under the employee's supervision or jurisdiction. Carrying of a concealed weapon, or ammunition, or both in a location specified in this subsection by a license holder shall not be a criminal act but may subject the person to denial from the premises or removal from the premises, and, if an employee of an employer, disciplinary measures by the employer.
2017 Ky. Acts ch. 182, sec. 2, effective June 29, 2017.
KRS 527.070 - Unlawful possession of a weapon on school property --Posting of sign -- Exemptions.
(1) A person is guilty of unlawful possession of a weapon on school property when he knowingly deposits, possesses, or carries, whether openly or concealed, for purposes other than instructional or school-sanctioned ceremonial purposes, or the purposes permitted in subsection (3) of this section, any firearm or other deadly weapon, destructive device, or booby trap device in any public or private school building or bus, on any public or private school campus, grounds, recreation area, athletic field, or any other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education, school, board of trustees, regents, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution. The provisions of this section shall not apply to institutions of postsecondary or higher education.
(2) Each chief administrator of a public or private school shall display about the school in prominent locations, including, but not limited to, sports arenas, gymnasiums, stadiums, and cafeterias, a sign at least six (6) inches high and fourteen (14) inches wide stating:
UNLAWFUL POSSESSION OF A WEAPON ON SCHOOL PROPERTY IN KENTUCKY IS A FELONY PUNISHABLE
BY A MAXIMUM OF FIVE (5) YEARS IN PRISON AND A
TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR ($10,000) FINE.
Failure to post the sign shall not relieve any person of liability under this section.
(3) The provisions of this section prohibiting the unlawful possession of a weapon on school property shall not apply to:
(a) An adult who is not a pupil of any secondary school and who possesses a firearm, if the firearm is contained within a vehicle operated by the adult and is not removed from the vehicle, except for a purpose permitted herein, or brandished by the adult, or by any other person acting with expressed or implied consent of the adult, while the vehicle is on school property;
(f) Any other persons, including, but not limited to, exhibitors of historical displays, who have been authorized to carry a firearm by the board of education or board of trustees of the public or private institution;
(4) Unlawful possession of a weapon on school property is a Class D felony. 1996 Ky. Acts ch. 119, sec. 4, effective October 1, 1996
An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of Possession of weapons, or ammunition, or both in a vehicle on the premises shall not be a criminal offense so long as the weapons, or ammunition, or both are not removed from the vehicle or brandished while the vehicle is on the premises. A private but not a public employer may prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons, or ammunition, or both in vehicles owned by the
employer, but may not prohibit employees or other persons holding a concealed deadly weapons license from carrying concealed deadly weapons, or ammunition, or both in vehicles owned by the employee, except that the Justice Cabinet may prohibit an employee from carrying any weapons, or ammunition, or both other than the weapons, or ammunition, or both issued or authorized to be used Page 6 of 11 by the employee of the cabinet, in a vehicle while transporting persons under the employee's supervision or jurisdiction.