Note: As the United States passes its 350th mass shooting this year, more and more people are discussing gun control. While many seem to believe that registering all guns, requiring background checks for all purchases, and preventing identifiably dangerous people from purchasing guns are all good ideas, just as many seem to be afraid that any gun control law will mean the loss of all civilian guns. Organizations like the NRA play on these fears, telling people that guns are already too regulated and any further action will mean the loss of the much cherished 2nd Amendment (which is more for well-regulated militia than civilians, but that’s an argument for another day).
So I wanted to see what exactly the gun laws are in each state. Are guns too regulated? Do states with tight gun laws have more gun violence or less? What does it even take to get a gun nowadays? With these questions in mind, I’ll be starting a new weekly series – Gun Laws, State by State. I will try to document the most up-to-date gun laws in each state as well as provide facts on gun deaths in each state. Hopefully, by the time I get to the last state, we will all be better educated on gun control and gun deaths. If you have any additional information on the state in question, add it in the comments.
Firearms in Kentucky (long guns and handguns) are very, very laxly regulated.
- You don’t need a permit to purchase or possess any firearm.
- You don’t need to register your firearms or complete a certification course.
- You can open carry.
- There is no minimum age to possess a long gun, and the minimum age for a handgun is 18 (though this can be circumvented).
- Kentucky does not require people convicted of domestic violence or stalking to surrender their firearms.
- Kentucky does not complete background checks and instead sends them to the FBI.
However, you must be 21, complete a less than 8-hour course, and not have any felonies on your record to get a concealed carry permit. So at least there’s that.
Despite this lack of regulation, Kentucky has the 17th highest rate of gun-related homicides in the country.
- Approximately 605 people die from gun-related deaths every year.
- 8% of domestic violence homicides involve a gun.
- Even worse, Kentucky is 3rd in the nation for gun crime exports, meaning that guns used for crimes in other states are quite likely to come from Kentucky.
So does less regulation mean more gun violence? Given this non-contextual information, it would certainly seem that lax gun laws translate to more gun-related deaths (as well as facilitating the export of guns into other states). But I’ll wait to give my final decision when we have more states to compare with.