New Law Prevents Ky. Cities from Enacting Gun Laws

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The city of Louisville can no longer define a firearm as a “deadly weapon.” That’s the indirect result of a new state law in Kentucky that prevents local governments from regulating or enacting gun laws.

The new state law does not mean guns aren’t deadly weapons, it simply means it’s the state’s role to enact and implement any gun laws, not local governments, individuals or muncipalities, said Councilman Kevin Kramer, R – Council District 11. Those not in compliance are considered in violation of state law.

That’s what forced a Metro Council committee on Wednesday to remove the word “firearms” from a city ordinance that prevented minors from having deadly weapons. The ordinance still contains language banning ninja stars, nunchucks and other weapons from being sold or possessed by a minor. It no longer mentions firearms.

“We can control some running around with a large machete, we can control (as a former alderman suggested) nuclear arms. We can’t control firearms,” said Bill O’Brien with the Jefferson County attorney’s office.

“The change is necessary for us to be consistent with what the new state law requires,” said Kramer.

The measure passed the committee unanimously 3 to 0 and was largely seen as a formality to comply with the new state law. It now moves to the full Metro Council where it is expected to pass with little discussion.

“Actually the law was mainly to clarify who can regulate guns in this state and not where they can be regulated,” said Brendan Montgomery, general manager of the Openrange gun store in Crestwood.

Montgomery says any talk of gun regulation or legislation drives up sales. In fact, he said shortly after President Barack Obama laid out his executive orders and ambitions for federal gun control, the store started to see more customers.

“Immediately, from about 11:45 a.m., you could see a steady pickup in the store,” Montgomery said. “Regulation is good for business.”

Montgomery said he was aware of the new state law.

Councilman Kevin Kramer says the measure didn’t weaken any local ordinances, but simply clarified it’s the state’s responsibility and obligation to enact gun restrictions.

“It seems odd that you would have a definition for deadly weapon and that a firearm would not be included,” said Kramer, R – Council District 11. “The reality is this was basically clean up language in order so that we are consistent with what state statute requires.”

The irony was not wasted on Kramer – that on a day when talk of new federal gun laws is driving up business at local gun stores, no one attended the committee meeting where a law was actually changed.


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