Frankfort, Ky –-(Ammoland.com)- Good news! After the disappointments with the General Assembly in the last few years, when several bills that KC3 and other interested gun owners favored were allowed to wither and die without a hearing, this spring has been like a renewal of the spirit of freedom in Kentucky.
The bill that was most important to us, HB500 from Rep. Robert Damron, is summarized in this way:
HB 500, sponsored by state Representative Bob Damron (D-39), will strengthen the current firearms preemption statute by expanding it to other units of government and public agencies to help prevent attempts to circumvent current state firearms laws and prohibit cities and counties from passing ordinances that would be more restrictive than existing state laws. HB 500 mandates consistent statewide regulations pertaining to firearms and ammunition and prevents a rights-infringing patchwork of local ordinances.
Ever since the passage of HB40 in 1996 gun owners and CCDW permit holders have fought a running battle against illegal signage, prohibitions, and ordinances that were put into place by various businesses and local governments. Despite the best efforts of KC3 and other groups some cities and counties continued to flaunt the law with restrictions that they weren’t permitted to enact.
In some instances, changes to comply with the law were made when letters were sent to the offending unit of government. In others, email campaigns involving local citizens writing to their elected representatives succeeded in getting illegal signs removed.
KC3 board member Stephen McBride has been especially active in this area over the last several years. He has written many letters to city and county governments taking them to task. He has spent hours researching which cities had illegal ordinances in place and has devoted many hours of his time to attending city commission meetings in Bardstown, for instance, to make plain the violations that the city was committing with their gun policies.
But for all that Stephen and others have done it was the lack of any means for KC3 to bring suit against the cities and counties that allowed them to carry on with impunity. While there is a statute in Kentucky that allows for bringing felony charges for malfeasance against public officials who abuse their offices and commit unlawful acts, there has been a persistent refusal by the Kentucky Attorney General to prosecute or even to investigate such cases.
In 1996 KC3 united with the grassroots group Take Back Kentucky to lobby for the passage of HB40 and in a resounding show of the power of grassroots activism it became law. This spring the two groups reunited in an effort to address this lack of a mechanism to punish offending municipalities and businesses in our first collaborative effort in many years.
First HB290 was introduced, which had much of the same language that’s contained in HB500, but it was doomed by partisan politics in the House. That’s when Rep. Robert Damron stepped in and introduced HB500, which then sailed through the House and went to the Senate in short order. There, the efforts of Sen. Damon Thayer and others ensured that it didn’t die in committee as so many bills before it had done, and it was passed by almost unanimous consent before going to the Governor for his signature. This marks the first time in many years that Kentucky’s legislators have worked together so seamlessly to the benefit of our gun owners.
In the future, when petty tyrants try to hide behind the public office to deny your rights to you, they’ll be facing legal sanctions like they’re never faced before. They can be sued for damages and can’t use their county or city attorney to defend them. It’s certain that when they realize that they’ll be paying out of pocket for their official misconduct they’ll be more reluctant to try to foist their personal phobias on the public.
KC3 is pleased that we were united once again with Take Back Kentucky in this effort and looks forward to more successes in the years to come. Only by uniting in a common front, speaking up for our rights, and making our minds plain to our elected officials can we beat back the efforts of those who would deny our basic right to self-defense, wherever we choose to be.
About Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed
Since 1994, Kentucky Coalition to Carry Concealed, Inc., has worked on behalf of Kentucky citizens to secure a concealed carry law that would permit law-abiding citizens to have the means to defend themselves from criminal attack when traveling outside their homes. Visit: www.kc3.com