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Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of Kentucky

Kentucky State Seal

Kentucky Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

4.5M

STATE POPULATION

407K

LICENSES ISSUED

9.04%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

50

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

37

RECIPROCATING STATES

YES

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

3

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Knowing your state’s gun laws is crucial because it ensures you’re within your rights when carrying your firearm away from your home. It’s also essential to learn your rights and responsibilities when taking a gun into another state. Kentucky is a permitless-carry state, making concealed carry legal without a permit, but the same laws don’t apply when crossing state lines. 

Kentucky has about 4.5 million residents, of which 407,000, or 9.04%, have a Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons (CCDW) license. This license isn’t necessary when carrying a concealed weapon in Kentucky, but it’s essential when taking your gun out of state. Anyone 21 and up can apply for one. 

Kentucky requires completion of a state-approved training course before receiving a CCDW. Concealed Coalition can provide this training for you, ensuring you can legally carry your firearm in other states in the country. Contact us for more information on the training we offer in Kentucky. 

Concealed Carry Training Classes in Kentucky

Summary of Kentucky Gun Laws

Your Kentucky Gun Rights

Every Kentucky resident at least 18 years old can purchase a gun in the state without a license. You’ll need to pass a background check, but there’s no waiting period.

A background check is necessary when purchasing a firearm through a federally licensed dealer in Kentucky, but not when buying privately. You don’t need a permit to buy a gun, though, and both open and concealed carry are legal without a license. 

A CCDW is valuable if you want to travel with your weapon, as 37 other states accept this license. Kentucky also honors concealed carry permits from every other state in the country. Here’s a look at some of the state’s gun laws: 

Open Carry in Kentucky

Open carry is legal in Kentucky for everyone over 18 who passes a federally mandated background check. Some locations, including those primarily serving alcohol, are the exception.

Concealed Carry in Kentucky

Kentucky is a shall-issue, permitless carry state, so you don’t need a license to carry your concealed weapon. Licenses are available in the form of a CCDW, though, which ensures your right to carry is protected in other states. Training is mandatory to receive your license, and the state police handle the permits.

Self Defense Laws in Kentucky

Kentucky is a Castle Doctrine state featuring a “stand your ground” law. This status means you’re under no obligation to retreat when facing a threat and have the right to use force in many situations.

Use of Force

The use of force is legal in Kentucky when protecting yourself, a third party, or your personal property from an imminent threat. You’re immune from prosecution in this scenario unless you use force against a peace officer.

Use of Deadly Force

Kentucky permits use of deadly force when protecting yourself or a third party from death, serious injury, kidnapping, rape, or another violent felony. You can also use deadly force when someone enters your property and attempts to commit a felony like burglary or arson using force.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

Learning when the use of force and deadly force are necessary is one of the most vital tools you’ll receive during firearm training. This knowledge ensures you remain on the right side of the law in all scenarios. Classes are available in Kentucky through Concealed Coalition.

Kentucky Gun Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (502) 205-2912 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs..

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Kentucky Concealed Carry Training, Gun Laws, and Reciprocity

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN KENTUCKY

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does Kentucky recognize constitutional carry?

Yes.

Is open carry permitted in Kentucky?

Yes, no permit is necessary.

If Kentucky requires a license to carry a concealed firearm, how are those licenses issued?

A license isn’t necessary, but they’re issued at the county level by the sheriff’s office.

What is the minimum age in Kentucky to get a concealed carry license?

A Kentucky resident must be 21 years of age to be issued a concealed weapons license.

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Kentucky with a concealed carry license (or under permit-less carry if applicable)?

Yes, the law applies to knives, nightsticks, clubs, blackjacks, slapjacks, nunchaku, shuriken, and brass knuckles.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Kentucky?

Yes, without a license.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Kentucky?

Yes.

Does Kentucky have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No.

Does Kentucky have ammunition restrictions?

Yes, armor-piercing ammunition is restricted.

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN GEORGIA

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in Kentucky?

Kentucky restricts where you can carry a gun. Firearms are prohibited in the following locations:

  • Schools
  • Child care facilities
  • School buses
  • Police stations
  • Jails
  • Courthouses
  • Government buildings
  • Airports
  • Most bars
  • Anywhere prohibited by federal law

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in Kentucky?

Anywhere not shown on the list above.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Kentucky?

Yes, without a license.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Kentucky?

Yes, without a license.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in Kentucky?

Yes, and no license is necessary.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Kentucky?

In restaurants, but not bars.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Kentucky?

Yes, but private businesses can restrict concealed carry. They cannot, however, restrict open carry.

Does Kentucky have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

Yes, employers cannot stop employees from storing firearms or ammunition on private vehicles in the parking lot.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN KENTUCKY

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Kentucky?

Only if the officer asks.

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in Kentucky? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No, unless they’re linked to state or federal law.

Does Kentucky have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes, state laws apply everywhere. City and county governments can only limit concealed carry inside government buildings.

Does Kentucky have a red flag law?

No.

Does Kentucky state law define brandishing?

No, but there are laws against disorderly conduct and threatening behavior.

Does Kentucky have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

No.

Does Kentucky issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

No, but it honors permits from all 50 states.

Does Kentucky allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No, but law enforcement can access this information.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN KENTUCKY

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Kentucky?

No.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Kentucky?

No.

Does my current Kentucky concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

Yes, you can skip the background check with a valid CCDW.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Kentucky?

No.

Do handguns need to be registered in Kentucky?

No.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Kentucky?

18 year sold, but 21 to carry a concealed weapon.

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in Kentucky without a license? 

Yes.

KENTUCKY CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in Kentucky

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
    Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Be a resident of Kentucky
  • Demonstrate competence with a firearm
  • 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 3 years prior to application
  • Not have 2 or more convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability within the 3 years prior to application
  • Not have been committed as an alcoholic within the last 3 years
  • Not owe a child support arrearage which equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after 1 year of non-payment
  • Have complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity proceedings
  • Not have been convicted of assault in the fourth degree or terroristic threatening in the third degree within the 3 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted

Fees:

Initial license and renewals $60 ($20 to the county sheriff and $40 to the Kentucky State Treasurer)

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

90 days.

Applications:

Link to CCW application.

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

Kentucky issues non-resident licenses only to members of the military on active duty assigned to a military post in Kentucky. The process is the same as for residents.

 

Name & Address Changes:

You are required to notify the Kentucky State Police within 30 days after the changing of a permanent address. Failure to do so is a noncriminal violation with a penalty of $25 payable to the clerk of the District Court. To change or update your address, you must complete a Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons Licensee Request for Change of Personal Information (KSP Form 121) at the office of the Sheriff of your county of residence. Once completed, the Sheriff will forward the information to the Kentucky State Police.

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

You must complete a Request for Duplicate CCDW License form at the office of the sheriff in your county of residence and provide a check or money order, payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer, in the amount of $15.00.

Residency Changes:

If a person with a Kentucky concealed carry of deadly weapons license establishes residency in another state, the license expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.

KENTUCKY CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One:

Complete a state-approved firearms training course.

Step Two:

Take the training certificate and a passport-type photo to the sheriff’s office in your county of residence and complete the application form there, as the form must be signed under oath.

Step Three:

Pay the $60 fee.

Step Four:

You will be notified if your application has been approved.

KENTUCKY CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Overview

Letting your CCDW expire doesn’t prohibit you from carrying a concealed weapon in Kentucky, but it could lead to legal problems if you carry in another state. You could also have to pay the late fee or go through the training courses again if you let it lapse. Concealed Coalition can provide this training if necessary, ensuring you’re within your rights when carrying your gun over state lines.

Your Kentucky CCDW expires every five years, and it’s up to you to renew it on time. The Department of State Police will send you a reminder letter about 120 days before its expiration. 

There’s a $15 late fee if you fail to renew your license before it expires. Those who don’t renew within six months of the expiration date must apply for a new permit. Here’s how you renew:

Step One:

Get a Passport-Style Photo 
You need a passport-style photo to renew your license, which you can get at any location that provides passport photos. 

Step Two:

Visit Your County Sheriff 
You’ll apply for your CCDW renewal through your local sheriff’s office, even though the Kentucky State Police administers them. All you’ll need is your photo, your renewal form, and money to pay the fees.

Step Three:

Pay the Fee 
Two fees totaling $60 are necessary to renew your CCDW in Kentucky. There’s a $20 fee that goes to the sheriff’s office in your county and a $40 fee for the Kentucky State Treasurer. You should bring both as checks or money orders.

Step Four:

Wait for Approval 
All that’s left after submitting your photo and paying your fees is waiting for approval. You’ll receive a notification once you’re approved, and the process can take up to 90 days.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

HR 218, also known as the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), permits off-duty and retired peace officers to carry a concealed weapon anywhere in the country. Kentucky’s LEOSA program is administered through the Kentucky State Police. Here’s how it works:

  • Off-duty officers can carry a concealed weapon anywhere an on-duty officer can, as long as their employing government authorizes them. No special certification is necessary.
  • Retired officers must apply for certification through their home department and the Kentucky State Police. Live firing exercises are required.
  • The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, Department of Military Affairs, and Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources must make range facilities available for firearm qualification testing at least four days per year. 

Off-duty officers can use their police identification to carry their concealed weapons anywhere in the state, while retired officers will receive a secondary piece of ID. This ID is valid nationwide.

Firearms Training & Competency

Concealed Coalition offers all the training you’ll need before applying for your CCDW in Kentucky. Contact us to learn more about the educational courses we offer in the state.

Kentucky requires training courses when applying for your CCDW. Your training isn’t to exceed eight hours and will include information on safely handling, cleaning, and using your gun. It also provides information on the laws and requires some live firing. Options available include:

NRA Training

The National Rifle Association offers firearm training all over the country. Use the training locator on the NRA’s official website to make your search easier.

Hunter Safety Courses

All hunters born after January 1, 1975, must carry a hunter education card and a hunting license. In-person and online courses are available, and you’ll need to attend a range day to receive your certification.

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Various public and private institutions all over the state offer educational courses. Make sure your chosen course is state-approved if you plan on applying for a CCDW.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Classes through a state-certified instructor are the best ways to ensure you understand how to use your firearm and are up to date on state laws. Concealed Coalition’s trainers know these laws inside and out and will provide you with the knowledge and skills necessary to become a responsible gun owner.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

Active or honorably discharged military members aren’t required to take a training course to receive their CCDW because it’s assumed they meet the criteria. The same goes for active and retired peace officers and corrections officers. Supporting documentation is necessary to receive this exemption.

Get Certified for a Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout Kentucky. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today, or visit our Kentucky concealed carry permitting resource for online certification.

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