Kentucky Open Carry Law
This article is meant to take a look at Kentucky’s open carry laws so that you folks can get a better idea what is and is not legal in the state.
The open carry of a handgun is lawful except in certain restricted areas in the state of Kentucky. The following list is of the places where you cannot open carry in the state.
- any police station or sheriff’s office;
- any detention facility, prison, or jail;
- any courthouse, solely occupied by the Court of Justice courtroom, or court proceeding;
- any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district, or any meeting of the General Assembly unless the permit holder is a member of that body;
- any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense alcoholic beverages for consumption on premises which is primarily devoted to that purpose;
- any elementary or secondary school facility, child caring facility, day care center;
- any area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons; and
- any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
It is unlawful to carry a concealed firearm on or about one’s person. This does not apply to carrying a concealed firearm in one’s own real property. A business owner may carry concealed on real property owned or leased by the business. Also, exempt from this prohibition are those issued a license to carry concealed firearms, police officers, agents and messengers of express companies when on duty, and U.S. mail carriers on duty.
“Concealed on or about the person” has been recently defined as “concealment in such proximity to the person as to be convenient of access and within immediate physical reach.” Kentucky courts consider firearms located under a driver’s seat concealed “on or about” the person, and are, therefore, unlawful. Firearms located in glove compartments, locked or unlocked, are not considered concealed.
Now, not everyone is going to be able to carry concealed in the state. The following is a list of those individuals who are prohibited from carrying in Kentucky.
- those younger than 21 years old
- people who have been convicted of certain crimes involving controlled substances within the last three years
- people with two or more convictions within the last three years for certain crimes involving alcohol
- people who owe at least one year’s worth of child support money
- those for whom an outstanding warrant for a child support or paternity proceeding exists,
- those who have not completed the required firearms safety course, and
- convicted felons and those convicted of other specified violations.
Now, there are certainly additional questions as well as more in-depth looks into such things as who is not allowed to possess a gun, and what public places do or do not allow them. We will be going over those in specific articles, later on, due to the complexity of some of the situations. For right now, however, we have a wonderful FAQ page on our Kentucky site with a lot of helpful information.
If you have specific questions that you would like covered in future articles about Kentucky’s open carry laws, shoot us a comment below, and we will make sure to add them to future reports.
Information compounded from the NRA and Kentucky state legal texts.
I want to Open Carry in Kentucky in Daniel Boone National Forest. Is this legal? Also, what holsters suffice for open carry? For example, can I use a thigh mounted holster for open carry in kentucky? Thanks.
Yes, you can open carry in a National Forest in Kentucky. As to the law the holster doesn’t matter.
I was wondering if any of you could inform me of the KRS code , that makes it illegal to open carry into a courthouse withing the state of Kentucky? I cant seem to locate anything that implies this where it pertains to open carry .
You can’t carry anything considered a weapon into a courthouse in ky. This includes a knife.
I have been researching open carry laws. I have not found any where that states you have to be licensed in the state of ky to open carry. Is this true?
Thanks for the reply.
So Is there references to articles in our state and federal legislature that I may take note of If I am ever questioned/approached while open carrying to make sure I know my rights as a gun owner?
I’ve heard of people down Red River Gorge being approached in the past being told they are not supposed to open carry, which being part of the National Forest I presume was incorrect.
I’m having a hard time finding a one stop internet source that goes into detail about these matters pieced together.
Next on my list is scheduling for a Concealed Carry Course and Permit, Where I’m sure the instructor can answer all my concerns, but I cant get that in till next year. Just want my ducks in a row for a backpacking trip.
Eric, laws related to firearms in National Parks, Monuments, Memorials, and Forests are controlled and regulated by the states in which the property is located. That is probably one of the reasons you are having trouble finding a consistent source. Laws about National Forests in one state will vary from the next state.
So to aid you in doing research consider that in Kentucky a National Forest is regulated by Kentucky law and is likely regulated the same way as Kentucky state forests. So that is the place to start your research.
Also consider that within any given park/forest/memorial there may be certain areas that have additional restrictions. Certainly any federal building or area where federal employees generally work full time is fully off limits to any firearm regardless of the state law.
Thanks Jacob for the help! Much appreciated. For us newer guys it can be quite confusing.
So in Kentucky am I allowed to open carry my handgun without obtaining a concealed carry permit?
Yes. There are some restrictions but generally yes you are.
You can carry in the forest but not in any buildings or developed recreation areas such as campgrounds, visitor centers, parks, offices, ECT. I work for the forest service in the Daniel Boone NF and this is same for the entire forest.
So if someone owes child support they cant open carry
The way I read this on child support, if you owe one ( 1) year… you cannot be granted a permit !
How does these laws open carry in your car I’ve heard 2 step method and 3 step method. What is the truth behind this.
Open carry laws in KY only apply outside of the vehicle. WITHOUT A CCDW LICENSE inside the vehicle there are ONLY 3 LEGAL PLACES TO HAVE A PISTOL. Factory installed glove box, factory installed center console with a lid and the trunk of the vehicle. (Pistol can be loaded with a round in the chamber) in ONLY THESE 3 PLACES.
I was told by a cop that the law on open carry in your vehicle changed to any factory compartment on your vehicle. So that would include map pocket of the doors
At what age can you open carry a pistol?
21 yrs old and up can own a pistol and Open Carry.
do you have anything showing that in official writing?
Wrong, State of Kentucky, to purchase and carry a pistol, you MUST be 21!
So can a 19 year old open carry in Kentucky?
No, you must be 21 to carry a pistol in the state of Ky.
Does my gun have to be unloaded in order to open carry lawfully? If so state the law please.
No in Kentucky you can have a round in the chamber Open Carrying and Stored in the Factory installed glove boxes, even WITHOUT a CCDW License.
I want to attend the Concealed Carry Expo in Louisville in April. Will out-of-state CCW permit holders who are attendees be allowed to carry in the Expo Center and hotels and restaurants nearby? What is the “Reciprocity agreement” with other states about Concealed Carry in Kentucky?
Kentucky honors all concealed carry permits from all states. I can’t speak for the individual policies of the venue, or the nearby hotels or restaurants but I suspect the majority of them do not prohibit concealed carry.
Jacob…I have seen a few instances where you are giving bad information. KY does NOT honor all state CCW permits…..The ONLY states that are honored are the states that honors the KY CCW permit….
Kentucky does indeed honor permits from any state. Here is a government source https://kentuckystatepolice.org/ccdw/ccdw-home/ccdw-reciprocity/ You can also check usacarry or handgunlaw and they will further confirm.
Illinois does not reciprocate..
Can someone without a Kentucky issued id open carry
Yes, unless otherwise restricted based on the above.
I just called the sheriff’s station where I live in Shepherdsville ky and asked the lady if I was allowed to open carry without a permit and she said no I have to have a ccdw license even to open carry is this true
No, she does not know the law….call her back and tell her to take a look at the KRS concerning deadly weapons….you do NOT need a permit to open carry in KY.
So is it still open carry if you have a trigger lock on a shotgin
A trigger lock has no bearing on any firearm being considered open or concealed.
I had a EPO against me in 2011 and was dismissed so am I allowed to open carry and apply for concealed
If it was dismissed then I think you are probably fine but if in doubt contact the state police.
Can I open carry a AR in Kentucky
Are there any restrictions about open carrying with a round in th chamber?
It is not wise to have a round racked in the chamber.
I’m 18 and own a handgun. I was wondering if 1) this is legal (I acquired the gun by means of a private sale) and 2) can I open carry the handgun, and what restrictions apply? Thanks.
Jacob I am 18 an live in ky.. Am I allowed to OPEN carrie a pistol? My understanding was that I was not even allowed to own a pistol till I am 21?
how many guns are you allowed to open carry at one time in ky.?
I’m 18 and want to clarify that I can open carry a handgun and purchase any pistol I choose as long as it’s not from a store. Also does the whole gun have to be visible in a holster or how exactly does that work?
If I have a concealed license can I still open carry. And do I have to have an open carry permit.
There is no open carry permit. Open carry is allowed or not allowed purely by statute in KY
I am buying a property in Kentucky and I want to purchase a Derringer Snake Slayer , only gun I will own , I want to wear it on my property only with the only reason is for protection against snakes , it will never leave my property and only worn when I spend time in my yard , all within my three Acer’s , do I need a license at all , the gun is only to be used for above reason of owning one .
I work at a dance school. We have students that are ages 4 to 18. This is a small business. What would open carry be for parents picking and dropping off students?
Can you open carry a handgun if you’re under 21?
I’m in the active duty military but only 20 years of age. Is there a way to obtain my concealed carry license with proper documentation for qualifying at pistol ranges?
I’m active duty military but only 20 years of age. Is there a way to obtain my Concealed Carry License with proper documentation of my most recent pistol qualifications?
I’m curious. How long has Kentucky had open carry? As far as I can tell, it must go back to colonial time when everybody carried.
if you open carring in ky and a cops stops you and ask for id do you have to show it to him if your not breaking any laws
Yes in KY you must present your permit when it is requested by the officer
So is a magnetic hoster under the steering wheel unlawful. Even if in plain sight
Can I open carry a handgun on my side in a holster in the state of ky without a permit or license?
Can you open carry a hand gun on your fishing boat on lakes in Ky
I am a 19 year old fireman in Kentucky walking into some sketchy situations, is it legal for me to carry a gun?
Guys I need help!!! I’m moving from Ohio to my so right now my license plate and drivers license is from ohio. If I’m in Kentucky and open carry will I get in trouble !! Also can I carry in my glove box !!
Guys I need help!!! I’m moving from Ohio to Kentuckyy so right now my license plate and drivers license is from ohio. If I’m in Kentucky and open carry will I get in trouble !! Also can I carry in my glove box !!
Looking at the KRS Chapter 237, It don’t say anything about open carry in government buildings. Only concealed carry is against the law according to this statute. Is there a rule/regulation stating anything about open carry in a Ky government facility?