Measure to allow people with conceal carry permits to bring guns into bars passes panel

02/11/2014 08:50 AM

UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Kentuckians with concealed carry licenses could bring their guns into bars — they just couldn’t drink with them under a bill that unanimously passed through a Senate committee Tuesday morning.

Senate Bill 60 — sponsored by Sen. John Schickel, R-Union, would strike the portion of existing law that bans people with conceal carry licenses from taking their weapons into bars. However, the proposal would forbid them from consuming alcohol while bringing a concealed firearm into such an establishment.

Under the Kentucky constitution, the General Assembly can make laws only to restrict conceal carry — not open carry licenses. Current law prevents guns in bars in general, regardless of the license type for its owners. But because of the constitution, the practical effect of that is just on conceal carry license holders.

Democratic Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville, said he wanted to make sure bar owners could still choose to ban weapons on their properties. Schickel said that would fall under private property rights. And while McGarvey said he wanted to get input from law enforcement, he ultimately voted to send the bill to the floor. It passed the Senate Licensing and Occupations Committee 9-0.

The same bill also would speed up the conceal carry permitting process by allowing instructors to issue the licenses. The process often takes up to three months, said Joe Kalil, an instructor who runs Defensive Handgun Training LLC in Northern Kentucky.

In a different committee meeting later Tuesday, State Police Commissioner Rodney Brewer said budget constraints on the agency have meant that the state police is taking 90-95 days in many case to turn around those licenses.

He told Pure Politics he hasn’t seen the Senate bill and didn’t want to comment on it without understanding its effect.

And the measure requires conceal carry instructors to demonstrate to their classes how to properly clean semi-automatic weapons and revolvers.

Earlier this session, Rep. Leslie Combs, D-Pikeville, accidentally fired a semi-automatic handgun in her office while trying to clean it.


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.