Kentucky State Seal

Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Carry allowed with my Kentucky permit?
No
Yes
Yes, Permitless Carry
Yes, Selected State
410k
Permits Issued
50
STATES HONORED
37
RECIPROCATING STATES
4.5M
STATE POPULATION
21
MINIMUM AGE TO CC
17
ATTORNEYS IN USCCA NETWORK
9.11%
PERMIT PERCENTAGE
5
YEARS PERMIT VALID
72
USCCA CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

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Summary of Kentucky Gun Laws

Kentucky is a shall-issue, constitutional carry state with permits processed at the county level by the Sheriff’s office.

No permit is needed to purchase a firearm from a private individual, there is no waiting period, and there is no firearms registration in the state. A background check is required if purchasing a handgun from a Federal Firearms Dealer. 

Open carry is legal in Kentucky without a permit for anyone at least 18 years of age that is not prohibited from carrying a firearm. Some areas are off-limits, including businesses primarily devoted to the sale of alcohol. 

Kentucky is now a constitutional carry state so concealed carry is legal for anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm without a license/permit. Those wanting to conceal carry out-of-state will still need to get a conceal carry permit. Kentucky concealed carry permits are referred to as Concealed Carry of Deadly Weapons (CCDW) licenses, and they apply to not only handguns but also knives, clubs, blackjacks, nunchaku, shuriken and brass knuckles. Successful completion of a firearms training course that has been state-approved is required to obtain a CCDW license. CCDW licenses are available to residents and military personnel stationed in Kentucky. Permits are not available for non-residents. In terms of reciprocity, Kentucky recognizes all currently valid concealed carry permits issued by other U.S. jurisdictions.

Kentucky is a Castle Doctrine state and has a “stand your ground” law. A person who is not engaged in an unlawful activity and who is attacked in any other place where he or she has a right to be has no duty to retreat and has the right to stand his or her ground and meet force with force, including deadly force, if he or she reasonably believes it is necessary to do so to prevent death or great bodily harm to himself or herself or another or to prevent the commission of a felony involving the use of force. Any person who uses a gun in self-defense has immunity from criminal and civil law. Anyone at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm in Kentucky.

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Kentucky Gun Laws at a Glance

Open Carry/ Concealed Carry Basics

Constitutional Carry?

Does Kentucky allow constitutional carry?

Yes. Kentucky became a constitutional carry state as of July 1, 2019.

Open Carry Permitted?

Is open carry permitted in Kentucky?

Yes, without a permit. Any person who is at least 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm can open carry.

Gun Permit Licensure?

If Kentucky requires a permit to carry a concealed firearm, how are those permits issued?

Kentucky is a shall-issue state,

Minimum Age for Concealed Carry?

What is the minimum age in Kentucky to get a concealed carry permit?

The minimum age to carry a concealed handgun in Kentucky is 21.

Weapons Other Than Handguns Allowed?

Can you concealed carry weapons other than handguns in Kentucky with a concealed carry permit (or under permitless carry if applicable)?

According to the Kentucky State Police, other items covered by the license include any knife other than an ordinary pocket or hunting knife, a nightstick or club, blackjack or slapjack, nunchaku, shuriken and artificial knuckles.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 500.080]

Tasers or Stun Guns?

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Kentucky?

Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.

Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Kentucky?

Yes. There is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of pepper spray in Kentucky.

Non-Resident Permitting?

Does Kentucky issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?

Yes, only to members of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty assigned to a military post in Kentucky.

Public Access to Concealed Carry Registry?

Does Kentucky allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No, however the information is available for law enforcement.

Carry Locations

Carry in Vehicle?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in a vehicle in Kentucky?

Yes, without a permit. Any person at least 21 years and otherwise able to lawfully possess a firearm, may carry concealed firearms or other concealed deadly weapons without a license in the same locations as persons with valid licenses.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 527.020]

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.109]

Carry at Roadside Rest Areas?

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Kentucky?

Yes. You may carry a concealed handgun at a roadside rest area in Kentucky.

Carry in State/National Parks, State/National Forests and Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs)?

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forests and Wildlife Management Areas in Kentucky?

Yes, with a valid concealed carry permit.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol?

Can you carry a firearm in restaurants that serve alcohol in Kentucky?

Yes, but not in the bar area, unless posted and provided it is a bona fide restaurant open to the general public having dining facilities for not less than 50 persons and which receives <50% of its annual food and beverage receipts from the sale of alcohol.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.110(16)(e)]

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 244.125(3)]

Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?

Does Kentucky have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

No person, including but not limited to an employer, who is the owner, lessee, or occupant of real property shall prohibit any person who is legally entitled to possess a firearm from possessing a firearm, part of a firearm, ammunition, or ammunition component in a vehicle on the property.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.106]

Additional Related State Laws

Must Notify Officer You're Carrying?

Are you required to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Kentucky?

Yes, but only when specifically asked by law enforcement.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 237.110(15)]

Magazine Limits for Handguns?

Does Kentucky have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

No. There is no state-mandated limit to handgun magazine capacity in Kentucky.

Ammunition Restrictions?

Does Kentucky have ammunition restrictions?

Yes. Armor-piercing ammunition is prohibited.

"No Weapons Allowed" Signs Enforced?

Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Kentucky? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No, unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in state law as being off-limits to those with a permit/license to carry.

Preemption?

Does Kentucky have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Yes. There is state preemption of all gun laws with the exception that section 237.115(2) specifically authorizes the legislative bodies of city, county and urban-county governments to “prohibit or limit” the carrying of concealed deadly weapons by state licensees in those portions of a building actually owned, leased, or controlled by that government unit.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 65.870]

[Ky Rev. Stat. § 237.115(2)]

Red Flag Law?

Does Kentucky have a red flag law?

No. Kentucky does not have any Extreme Risk Protective Order (ERPO) laws.

Brandishing?

Does Kentucky state law define brandishing?

No. However, a person is guilty of disorderly conduct in the second degree when in a public place and with intent to cause public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm, or wantonly creating a risk thereof, he engages in fighting or in violent, tumultuous or threatening behavior.

[Ky Rev. Stat. § 252.060]

Carry while using alcohol or prescription medication in Kentucky?

Does Kentucky have laws regarding carrying a firearm while using alcohol or prescription medication?

Not addressed in state statutes.

As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.

Handgun Purchase & Possession

Purchase Permits?

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Kentucky?

No. You are not required to have a permit to buy a handgun in Kentucky.

Background Checks for Private Gun Sales?

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Kentucky?

No. It is recommended that you retain any sales receipts to prove ownership of the gun.

Waiting Period?

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Kentucky?

No. There is no waiting period to buy a handgun in Kentucky.

Handgun Registration?

Do handguns need to be registered in Kentucky?

No. handgun registration is not required in Kentucky.

Minimum Age to Possess and Transport?

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Kentucky?

You must be at least 18 years old to possess or transport a handgun in Kentucky.

[KRS 527.100]

Carry While Hunting

Carry While Gun Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Kentucky?

Yes. Anyone who may legally possess firearms may carry firearms while hunting, but any firearms carried concealed must be done so pursuant to KRS 527.020(4).

Carry While Bow Hunting?

Can you concealed carry while bowhunting in Kentucky?

Yes. Per page 9 of the KY Hunting and Trapping Guide.

Hunter Harassment Law?

Is there a Hunter Harassment Law in Kentucky?

Yes. No person shall intentionally obstruct or disrupt the right of a person to lawfully take wildlife by hunting, trapping, or fishing.

[KRS § 150.710]
 

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State Constitutional Provision
All men are by nature, free and equal, and have certain inherent and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned: ... 7) the right to bear arms in defense of themselves and of the state, subject to the power of the general assembly to enact laws to prevent persons from carrying concealed weapons."
STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION - ARTICLE 1, SECTION 1, PARAGRAPH 7

Kentucky Concealed Carry Reciprocity With Other States

Which states' permits does Kentucky honor?

Alabama (if at least 21 years old)
Alaska (if at least 21 years old)
Arizona (if at least 21 years old)
Arkansas (if at least 21 years old)
California (if at least 21 years old)
Colorado (if at least 21 years old)
Connecticut (if at least 21 years old)
Delaware (if at least 21 years old)
District of Columbia (if at least 21 years old)
Florida (if at least 21 years old)
Georgia (if at least 21 years old)
Hawaii (if at least 21 years old)
Idaho (if at least 21 years old)
Illinois (if at least 21 years old)
Indiana (if at least 21 years old)
Iowa (if at least 21 years old)
Kansas (if at least 21 years old)
Louisiana (if at least 21 years old)
Maine (if at least 21 years old)
Maryland (if at least 21 years old)
Massachusetts (if at least 21 years old)
Michigan (if at least 21 years old)
Minnesota (if at least 21 years old)
Mississippi (if at least 21 years old)
Missouri (if at least 21 years old)
Montana (at least 21 years old)
Nebraska (if at least 21 years old)
Nevada (if at least 21 years old)
New Hampshire (at least 21 years old)
New Jersey (if at least 21 years old)
New Mexico (if at least 21 years old)
New York (if at least 21 years old)
New York City (if at least 21 years old)
North Carolina (if at least 21 years old)
North Dakota (if at least 21 years old)
Ohio (if at least 21 years old)
Oklahoma (if at least 21 years old)
Oregon (if at least 21 years old)
Pennsylvania (if at least 21 years old)
Rhode Island (if at least 21 years old)
South Carolina (if at least 21 years old)
South Dakota (if at least 21 years old)
Tennessee (if at least 21 years old)
Texas (if at least 21 years old)
Utah (if at least 21 years old)
Vermont (if at least 21 years old)
Virginia (if at least 21 years old)
Washington (if at least 21 years old)
West Virginia (if at least 21 years old)
Wisconsin (if at least 21 years old)
Wyoming (if at least 21 years old)

Since Kentucky has permitless carry, any person at least 21 years old who can legally possess a firearm may carry a concealed firearm on his or her person without a license or permit.

 

Other States' Reciprocity With Kentucky

Which states honor permits from Kentucky?

Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.


States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with Kentucky

Colorado (resident permits only)
Florida (resident permits only)
Michigan (resident permits only)
Pennsylvania (resident permits only)
South Carolina (resident permits only)

Permitless Carry States

Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.

Arizona (if at least 21 years old)
Alaska (if at least 21 years old)
Arkansas (if at least 21 years old)
Kansas (if at least 21 years old)
Maine (permit recognized; see Maine Reciprocity section for details)
Mississippi (if at least 21 years old)
Missouri (if at least 19 years old)
New Hampshire (if at least 18 years old)
South Dakota (if at least 18 years old)
Vermont (if at least 18 years old)
West Virginia (if at least 21 years old)

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Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit Information

Requirements:

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years old;
  • Be a U.S. citizen or legal resident;
  • Have resided in Kentucky for at least 6 months prior to application;
  • 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 3 years prior to application;
  • Not have 2 or more convictions for operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol or other substance which impairs driving ability within the 3 years prior to application;
  • Not have been committed as an alcoholic within the last 3 years;
  • Not owe a child support arrearage which equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after 1 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 3 years immediately preceding the date on which the application is submitted; and
  • Meet federal law requirements.
Fees:

Initial license $60

Renewals  $20

Valid For:

5 years

Processing Time:

90 days

Application:
Non-Resident Concealed Carry Permits:

Kentucky issues non-resident permits only to members of the Armed Forces of the United States on active duty assigned to a military post in Kentucky. The process is the same as for residents.

Name/Address Changes:

You are required to notify the Kentucky State Police within 30 days after the changing of a permanent address. Failure to do so is a noncriminal violation with a penalty of $25 payable to the clerk of the District Court. To change or update your address, you must complete a Carry Concealed Deadly Weapons Licensee Request for Change of Personal Information (KSP Form 121) at the office of the Sheriff of your county of residence. Once completed, the Sheriff will forward the information to the Kentucky State Police.

Lost/Stolen Permits:

You must complete a Request for Duplicate CCDW License form at the office of the sheriff in your county of residence and provide a check or money order, payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer, in the amount of $15.00.


Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit Application Process

How to Apply for a Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit

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. 

Step 4:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Firearms Training Requirements in Kentucky

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; and
  • 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.

No additional training is required for renewals.

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Find a Shooting Range in Kentucky.


Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit Renewal Process

How to Renew a Kentucky Concealed Carry Permit

Step 1:

Not less than 120 days prior to the expiration date of a CCDW license, the Department of State Police will mail a written notice of the expiration and a renewal form to each licensee. If you fail to renew your license on or before the expiration date and wish to renew your license, you will be required to pay an additional late fee of $15.00. If 6 months or more has passed since the expiration date of your license, your license has permanently expired and cannot be renewed. If your license has permanently expired, you may reapply for a new license.

Step 2:

Take the renewal notice and a passport-style photograph to the Sheriff of your county of residence. If you are not a U.S. Citizen, the Citizenship Affidavit (KSP Form 131) must be completed and submitted to the sheriff of your county of residence to be attached to the renewal form.

Step 3:

Pay the $20 fee.

Step 4:

You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.


Law Enforcement Officers (LEO)/Retired LEOs

Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.

Kentucky Revised Statutes §§ 237.137 through 237.142 address RLEO carry requirements with the Kentucky State Police to administer the program. Certification requirements are included in KRS § 237.140. Qualified RLEOS may carry concealed firearms on or about their persons at all times and at any location within the Commonwealth where an on-duty peace officer is permitted to carry firearms. The KY State Police LEOSA website includes detailed information and links to application materials.

The following agencies of the Commonwealth make range facilities available no less than 4 days per year for firearms qualification by retired peace officers seeking certification:  

  • The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet;
  • The Department of Military Affairs; and
  • The Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

Kentucky Location Restrictions

Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Kentucky?
  • Carry in restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes.
  • Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? Yes.
  • Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
  • Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests, and WMAs? Yes.
  • Carry in places of worship? There is no State statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Kentucky?

Places off-limits even with a permit/license

  • Any elementary or secondary school facility without the consent of school authorities, including school grounds, recreation areas, athletic fields, or any other property owned, used, or operated by any board of education, school, board of trustees, regents, or directors for the administration of any public or private educational institution; 
  • Any child-care facility, any day-care center or any certified family child-care home;
  • Any school bus;
  • 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 (if passed by local ordinance); or any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly;
  • Any room where alcoholic beverages are being sold at a retail establishment licensed to sell alcohol “by the drink.” This prohibition does not apply to restaurants that are open to the public, have dining facilities for at least 50 people, and receive less than 50 percent of their annual food and beverage income from the sale of alcohol;
  • An area of an airport to which access is controlled by the inspection of persons and property; 
  • Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law or state law or regulation.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann § 237.110]

  • Colleges, universities, technical schools and community colleges that have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons on property owned or controlled by them (check with each institution for specific allowances);
  • Private businesses who have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons on property owned or controlled by them (check with each business for specific allowances); and
  • Areas in which state and local governments have exercised their authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons on property owned or controlled by them.

[Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann § 237.115]


FAQ: Kentucky Concealed Carry Questions

What Are the Knife Laws in Kentucky?

There are no banned knife types in Kentucky. It is legal to open carry any knife. Anything besides a pocket or hunting knife can be considered a deadly weapon and would be banned from concealed carry.


Kentucky Gun Laws Updates:

Date Details
2019-10-31

Added brandishing info to At A Glance table

2019-10-14

Added Hunter Harassment info to At A Glance table

2019-10-01

Added Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray to the At A Glance table

2019-09-06

Added Carry While Hunting info to At A Glance table

2019-08-13

Added anchor links to various sections below the Summary

2019-07-25

Added minimum age to possess and transport a handgun to At A Glance table

2019-07-01

Updated General and At A Glance table with constitutional carry info

2019-05-24

Added stun gun/Taser info to At A Glance table

2019-04-30

Added permit renewal and name/address change info

2019-04-18

Links checked

2019-03-28

Added info on state implementation of Law Enforcement Officer Safety Act (LEOSA)

2019-03-12

Added note about constitutional carry in Gen'l and At A Glance sections.

2019-03-04

Corrected vehicle carry info in the At A Glance table per a member comment (thanks!)

2019-02-15

Added pages for Federal Gun Laws, Traveling with Firearms & Terminology

2019-02-09

Added ammunition restrictions to At A Glance table

2019-02-06

Added red flag law info to At A Glance table

2019-01-25

Added church carry info to location restrictions section

2019-01-25

Links checked

2019-01-24

Added info about alcohol or prescription medication in At A Glance table

2019-01-10

Mag limit added to At A Glance table

2018-12-13

Added preemption info to At A Glance table

2018-11-30

Added parking lot storage info to At A Glance table

2018-11-26

Added links

2018-10-22

Added initial CCW law and reciprocity information for Kentucky

Did We Miss Something?

Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated, trained and legally protected at all times. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.

If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email support@uscca.com and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!

Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States: 2018.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.

The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. Members and the concealed carry community, and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.

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