Kentucky Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training


Kentucky is known for its rich history and unique laws, and this extends to its firearm regulations. While you have the right to possess and carry firearms in the state, there are certain rules you must follow to avoid legal complications. Let’s dive into the specifics of Kentucky’s firearm laws.

Kentucky’s Concealed Carry Process

If you wish to carry a concealed firearm in Kentucky, you’ll need to obtain a concealed carry permit. The process involves applying at the county level through the state sheriff’s office. Make sure you meet all state requirements before applying. Kentucky operates as a shall-issue state, meaning your application will be approved if you meet all necessary conditions.

Firearm Purchases and Background Checks

Unlike some states, Kentucky does not require state permits for purchasing firearms, nor does it have firearm registration requirements. However, you must undergo a criminal record background check when purchasing firearms from a licensed dealer. Private dealers and transfers within family members are exempt from this requirement.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Kentucky allows both open carry and concealed carry. To conceal carry, you need to obtain a concealed carry permit and be at least twenty-one years old. For open carry, the minimum age requirement is eighteen. Keep in mind that the concealed carry permit is only available to state residents and members of the United States Armed Forces stationed in Kentucky.

Non-Resident Possession

Non-residents can carry firearms in Kentucky using a valid concealed carry permit from their home state. The state also honors permits from other states across the country.

See also  Alabama Open Carry

Open Carry Laws and Restrictions

Kentucky is considered a permissive open-carry state, meaning you do not need a license to open-carry within its borders. However, certain restrictions apply, and it’s crucial to be aware of them.

Where Is It Legal to Open Carry?

You can open carry in several places in Kentucky, including roadside areas, state parks and forests, and places of worship (unless prohibited by signage). You can also open carry in your personal vehicle if you have a valid license.

Where Is It Illegal to Open Carry?

There are several places where open carry is prohibited, such as schools, law enforcement offices, courthouses, and prisons. You also cannot open carry in places where alcohol is sold if it generates more than fifty percent of its income from liquor sales.

Ammunition Restrictions

Kentucky prohibits the use of armor-piercing ammunition within the state.

Preemption Law

Kentucky has partial preemption laws, which means certain firearms regulations cannot be regulated by local municipalities.

Brandishing of Firearms

Using your firearm in a disorderly manner that causes public unrest or threatens others is considered misconduct under Kentucky law.

Range Shooting Regulations

Kentucky has specific regulations concerning range shooting. Shooting ranges that have existed and operated for over a year cannot be considered a nuisance. The state also provides protections against civil or criminal liability related to noise disturbances from shooting ranges.

Open Carry While Hunting

Kentucky allows individuals to open carry while hunting, provided they adhere to firearm laws. The state also enforces hunter harassment laws to protect hunting activities.

See also  Pennsylvania Open Carry


Understanding Kentucky’s firearm laws is essential for anyone who owns or wishes to carry a firearm within the state. By following these regulations, you can exercise your rights while staying on the right side of the law.


Q1. Can I open carry without a license in Kentucky?

Yes, Kentucky is a permissive open-carry state, and you do not need a license to open-carry.

Q2. How old do I need to be to apply for a concealed carry permit?

To apply for a concealed carry permit and to conceal carry in Kentucky, you must be at least twenty-one years old.

Q3. Can non-residents carry firearms in Kentucky?

Yes, non-residents can carry firearms in Kentucky using a valid concealed carry permit from their home state.

Q4. Are there any restrictions on open carry locations?

Yes, certain places such as schools, law enforcement offices, and airports prohibit open carry.

Q5. Can I use armor-piercing ammunition in Kentucky?

No, Kentucky law prohibits the use of armor-piercing ammunition.

Q6. Can you legally conceal carry in Kentucky?

Yes, Kentucky is a shall-issue state where concealed carry permits are issued to applicants who meet the requirements and pass a background check.

Q7. Why get a concealed carry permit in Kentucky?

A Kentucky concealed carry permit allows concealed carry privileges and reciprocity that constitutional carry alone does not provide.

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