Kentucky is an interesting state. It’s pretty right-leaning, with two Republican senators in Washington, both of which are at least somewhat against gun control. It also is the state where Rep. Thomas Massie comes from, who is arguably one of the most pro-gun voices in Congress ever.
But they also have a Democrat in the governor’s mansion.
Even so, Kentucky isn’t the sort of place you expect gun control to take hold. Apparently, though, the some in Louisville thinks otherwise.
As the Kentucky General Assembly session approaches, city leaders in Louisville are pushing lawmakers to take up gun reform, infrastructure funding and affordable housing incentives.
State legislators will be back in Frankfort on Jan. 2 to kick off the 2024 session. They’ll field requests for policy changes and funding from lobbyists, Louisville Metro’s among them. Democratic Mayor Craig Greenberg released a legislative agenda earlier in October, outlining potential solutions to the issues dogging Kentucky’s largest city: gun violence, access to affordable housing and aging public infrastructure.
After a meeting with some of Louisville’s state legislators in November, Greenberg told LPM News he was “very optimistic” about the upcoming session.
“There are a lot of areas of agreement,” he said. “I think we all agree we want to approve public safety. Everyone seems supportive of more affordable housing, strengthening economic development, and investing in our city.”
There’s a push to end preemption in Kentucky, which is likely part of the hope for “gun reform” being mentioned here.
However, that might be a forlorn hope.
Topping the list of Louisville’s legislative agenda are measures Greenberg argues will improve public safety, including gun reform.
City officials are asking the General Assembly for the power to require background checks for all gun sales, waiting periods for first-time gun buyers and to create red flag laws. They also want local governments to have the power to limit concealed carry for people under the age of 25.
It seems more likely, however, that Kentucky lawmakers will do the opposite. In 2019, Kentucky stopped requiring permits to conceal carry. And just last year, the General Assembly passed a “Second Amendment sanctuary” bill, banning police from cooperating with any federal enforcement of a gun or ammunition ban.
And it should be noted that the General Assembly is still heavily Republican–there are just 27 Democrats in the General Assembly combined out of 138 total lawmakers–and there’s zero reason to believe they actually are open to restricting people’s right to keep and bear arms, no matter how much the mayor of Louisville may want them to.
And really, that’s not the problem in Louisville.
The city has a lot of issues with violent crime, but none of them are the result of the fact that state laws won’t let them restrict the right to keep and bear arms.
Instead, gun control is a crutch people like Greenberg can use to try and justify their inaction elsewhere. “We’d love to address violent crime, but the state won’t let us pass gun control, so what can we do?”
They’re hoping people won’t realize that violent crime has causes and that a gun is merely a tool violent criminals use. Address the causes and it won’t matter if guns are accessible or not.
But that requires work.