Whether you’re new to owning a firearm or have had a gun for home defense for years, getting a concealed carry permit may seem daunting. It doesn’t have to be. There are many reasons and ways to carry a concealed weapon, but the first step is knowing the laws. Applying for a CCW varies by state. Read about the process for getting a Kentucky Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons (CCDW) license below.

Similar to permit requirements, states vary greatly in their processes for how an applicant obtains a concealed handgun permit, what their permits/licenses are called, whether licenses include photographs, whether fingerprinting is required, license duration, license costs and turnaround times. Some states allow an applicant to complete an application online, while others require an in-person visit to the office of the respective issuing authority. There are even states that require the applicant to provide a list of non-related character references.

Concealed Carry Permit Basics

Kentucky is a shall-issue, permitless carry state where concealed carry licenses are issued at the state level by the state police. Shall-issue means licensing authorities are compelled to issue a license if an applicant meets the basic requirements set out by state law.

Concealed carry is legal for residents with a Kentucky Concealed Deadly Weapons (CCDW) license and for non-residents with a license/permit from a state that Kentucky honors. In terms of reciprocity, Kentucky recognizes all currently valid concealed carry permits issued by other U.S. jurisdictions. CCDW licenses are available to residents and military personnel stationed in Kentucky. Licenses are not available for non-residents.

Kentucky is now a permitless carry state; therefore, concealed carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm without a license/permit. Those wanting to carry concealed out-of-state will still need to get a permit. Also, any person who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to possess a firearm can open carry.

Federally Prohibited Persons

The Federal Gun Control Act of 1968 and the Federal Omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 1997 make it illegal for a person who fits into any of the prohibited categories to ship, transport, receive or possess firearms or ammunition. These laws prevent a state from issuing a concealed handgun permit/license as it would be illegal for people who fit in these categories, by federal law, to own or possess a gun.

What Are the License Requirements in Kentucky?

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident
  • Be a resident of Kentucky
  • Demonstrate competence with a firearm
  • Not have been committed to a state or federal facility for abuse of a controlled substance or convicted of a misdemeanor relating to a controlled substance within the three years prior to application
  • Not have two or more convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability within the three years prior to application
  • Not have been committed as an alcoholic within the last three years
  • Not owe a child support arrearage that equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after one year of non-payment
  • Have complied with any subpoena or warrant relating to child support or paternity proceedings
  • Not have been convicted of assault in the fourth degree or terroristic threatening in the third degree within the three years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted
  • Meet federal law requirements

Do I Need Firearms Training in Kentucky?

Yes, training is required to obtain a CCDW. Firearms safety courses must be approved by the Department of Criminal Justice. Training shall:

  • Not exceed 8 hours in length
  • Include instruction on handguns, the safe use of handguns, the care and cleaning of handguns, and handgun marksmanship principles
  • Include actual range firing of a handgun in a safe manner, and the firing of not more than 20 rounds at a full-sized silhouette target, during which no fewer than 11 rounds must hit the silhouette portion of the target
  • Include information on and a copy of laws relating to possession and carrying of firearms, as set forth in KRS Chapters 237 and 527, and the laws relating to the use of force, as set forth in KRS Chapter 503
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the law regarding the justifiable use of force by including with the application a copy of the concealed carry deadly weapons legal handout made available by the Department of Criminal Justice Training and a signed statement that indicates that the applicant has read and understands the handout

Training Exemptions: Active or honorably discharged service members or a reserve component thereof, current and retired peace officers and corrections officers may meet criteria that will deem them to have met the training requirement.

How Do I Get a Concealed Handgun Permit in Kentucky?

Step 1: Complete a state-approved firearms training course.

Step 2: Take the training certificate and a passport-type photo to the sheriff’s office in your county of residence and complete the application form there, as the form must be signed under oath.

Step 3: Pay the $60 fee. You must prepare two payments. One payment, in the amount of $20, should be made to the sheriff of your county of residence. The second payment should be a check or money order in the amount of $40, made payable to “Kentucky State Treasurer.”

You will be notified if your application has been approved.


For more information, visit the USCCA [State] gun laws page now…