Kentucky Legislature Debates Campus Carry

Kentucky may soon join the list of states permitting concealed carry on public campuses, reports the Lexington Herald-Leader.

House Bill 249, introduced by Representative Tim Moore, would allow Kentuckians with concealed carry permits to carry on public elementary and secondary school grounds, and on public college and university campuses.

As of 2012, guns have only been allowed on Kentucky’s public college and university campuses if they are in a car.

Those in support of HB 249 argue that the bill will prevent mass shootings by doing away with gun free zones.

As David Burnett, the former president of the University of Kentucky’s Students for Concealed Carry, said, gun free zones “empower psychopaths by guaranteeing victims are defenseless, cultivating a deadly delusion that murderous criminals will comply.”

Conversely, opponents of the bill believe campus carry will make schools more dangerous.

Jon Akers, director of the Kentucky Center for School Safety, feels only law enforcement personnel should be permitted to carry in and around schools. In fact, his goal is station police officers on every campus.

“They can become important resources for students,” he told the Lexington Herald-Leader. “Then, if there is a problem, they are there.”

Unfortunately, HB 249 is under even more scrutiny because of Senate Bill 007, which was introduced last month. SB 007 aims to establish constitutional carry, meaning anyone over the age of 18 who is not otherwise legally barred from carrying a concealed weapon may do so without a permit or training. The bill has been met with much opposition, especially from law enforcement, and will likely be amended or completely scrapped.

If SB 007 is shot down, HB 249 might have a better chance of survival.

Currently, only a handful of states permit concealed weapons on school property, including Colorado, Utah, Mississippi, Oregon, Wisconsin, Idaho, Texas, and – just recently – Kansas.  If the bill is approved, Kentucky will be the ninth state to legalize campus carry.

Nov 26, 2021 10:30 AM ET