In the wake of the Marshall County High School shooting that claimed the lives of two 15-year-old students just one year ago, the legislature’s passage of and Gov. Matt Bevin’s pledge to sign a bill allowing Kentuckians to carry a concealed handgun without proper training or a permit is appalling and shameful.
Senate Bill 150, which unsurprisingly has backing from the National Rifle Association, allows concealed deadly weapons to be carried by those 21 and older without a license in the same locations as concealed carry license holders.
The current process requires training to teach owners how to hold, use and clean a gun and $60 fee to receive the permit. Doing away with those prerequisites is like handing over the keys to a Bugatti to a 16-year-old with no driving experience. Not only is it reckless, but it poses a danger to the general public as well.
Latreese Cannon, a certified state firearms instructor, echoed that sentiment, calling the legislation scary and adding that it is “basically just giving a license to carry to kill.” He said those carrying firearms need to know how to disarm them and operate them. “Just carrying around a gun and knowing nothing about it — detrimental,” he said.
Proponents of the measure say it won’t change where and when people can possess concealed weapons. Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, who sponsored the bill, said many Kentuckians already carry weapons openly without any training and that those who choose to wear a coat, which would conceal the firearm, shouldn’t have to obtain a permit to do so. Smith claims SB 150 “would decriminalize wearing a coat in the state of Kentucky.”
But Smith’s argument doesn’t hold water. For one thing, there is nothing criminal about wearing a coat in this state — unless it is concealing a weapon. Secondly, just because residents already carry concealed guns without a permit doesn’t make it right or lawful. Like our mothers always said, “If everybody jumped off a bridge, would you?”