Democratic lawmakers hopeful about gun control bill but GOP leader "strongly opposed"

02/07/2013 06:10 PM

FRANKFORT — A group of Democrats said Thursday that Kentucky must take steps to keep tabs on guns by tasking the Kentucky State Police to operate a gun owner registry.

Two Louisville Democrats, Rep. Jim Wayne and Mary Lou Marzian are sponsoring the measure in the House while Sen. Kathy Stein, D-Lexington, has proposed the same bill in the Senate.

Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer told Pure Politics last week that he favored a national registry as well as other restrictions on assault weapons.

Marzian said she hopes it begins some dialogue among lawmakers and Kentuckians. She said she believes this piece of legislation is reasonable enough that even some NRA members could be receptive to it.

But Wayne said that his legislation seeks to find a middle ground in the debate over guns by not taking away guns but giving more regulation to law enforcement.

The bill would expand gun-free zones to college and university campuses and allow local governments to implement gun restrictions, such as banning them from libraries. The measure also calls for requiring all firearms to be stored in locks and safes.

And the bill does place some restrictions on gun owners who land in the court system. For instance, under the bill, someone found not guilty of a crime or by reason of insanity or someone found by a judge to be mentally ill would be prohibited from owning guns.

But House Minority Leader Jeff Hoover, R- Jamestown, said the legislation is being pushed by “liberals” who are out-of-step with Kentuckians. He said he considered the bill a “knee-jerk” reaction to the tragedy in Newtown, Conn.

House Republicans, he said, will do everything they can to stop this bill.

Stein, the Democratic senator, said she was politically pragmatic about it and that it would be an uphill battle to convince many of her colleagues in the Republican-controlled Senate.


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