Kentucky's gun laws are relatively permissive compared to many other U.S. states. The state operates on a permitless carry system, allowing most individuals who are legally permitted to possess a firearm to carry it openly or concealed without a specific license.
here are no requirements for permits to purchase handguns, rifles, or shotguns, nor is there a need for firearm registration or an owner's license. Although background checks are required when purchasing from federally licensed dealers, they are not mandated for private sales.
Kentucky Gun Laws Quick Facts
✅ Yes - Kentucky is considered a constitutional carry state when it became a permit-less carry state in 2019.
Open Carry Permitted?
✅ Yes - Individuals in Kentucky are allowed to openly carry a firearm without a license or permit. You must be at least 18 or older while being legally allowed to own or possess a firearm.
Carry In Vehicle?
✅ Yes - Kentucky permits any individual over the age of 18 (and who can legally posses a firearm) to transport their firearm unloaded and within a closed storage container - including your glove compartment or center console. However, to openly or concealed carry your firearm on your person while in your vehicle, you must be at least 21 years old (and legally allowed to posses a firearm).
Carry In State Park?
✅ Yes - Kentucky allows for any individual to concealed or openly carry without a license so long as you're over 21 (and legally able to own a firearm) within state regulated parks.
Carry In Restaurants?
✅ ❌ Yes/No - Kentucky allows for the concealed carry of firearms in a restaurant so long as that establishment doesn't generate revenue from more than 50% sales of alcohol. Individuals are not allowed to carry concealed or openly within bars.
No Weapon Sign Enforced?
❌ No - We weren't able to find language around no weapon signs as having the force of law behind it. However, there are specific areas where you may not carry a firearm which are mentioned in the state code as being off-limits.
Must Notify Officer?
❌ No - We were not able to find any language around duty to inform within Kentucky statutes.
States Honoring CCW
* Restricted reciprocity with Kentucky
States NOT Honoring CCW
Honors These States CCW Permits
How Reciprocity Works In Kentucky
Kentucky has a friendly relationship with all 50 states conceal carry licenses, including non-resident licenses issued by other states. Check out the state website which has more information on reciprocity.
Reciprocity Agreements In Kentucky
Kentucky: Where Is CCW Allowed?
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Road side rest areas
- All areas of the state – except those listed as off limits
Places Not Allowed
- Any police station or sheriff’s office
- Any detention facility, prison, or jail
- Any courthouse, courtroom, or court proceeding
- Any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district
- Any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly
- Any portion of an establishment licensed to dispense beer or alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises, which portion of the establishment is primarily devoted to that purpose
- Any elementary or secondary school facility
- Any child-caring facility, day-care center, or certified family child-care home
- State and local governments have the authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons on property owned or controlled by them
- Colleges, universities, technical schools and community colleges have the authority to limit the carrying of concealed weapons on property owned or controlled by them
- 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.
Kentucky: Conceal Carry Laws
Yes, Kentucky has no laws prohibiting open carry without a license. When open carrying you should be prepared for Police Officers to question you as open carrying a firearm will attract their attention. The minimum age to open carry is 18 years. Kentucky has released a white paper on open carry which can provide more specific answers.
Carry In Vehicle
Yes, Kentucky allows any person without a license, 18 or older, and not prohibited from possessing a firearm, to carry an unloaded firearm in a vehicle in any closed container, compartment, or storage space installed as original equipment in a motor vehicle by its manufacturer, including but not limited to a glove compartment, center console, or seat pocket, regardless of whether the enclosed container, storage space, or compartment is locked, unlocked or does not have a locking mechanism. However, to carry a firearm on your person (loaded or unloaded) then you must be at least 21 years old.
The Law KRS 27.020
Carry In State Parks
Yes, you are permitted to carry in the following areas:
- State Parks: YES
- State/National Forests: YES
- State Wildlife Management Areas: YES – 301 KAR 3:010
- Road Side Rest Areas: YES
Carry In Restaurants
Yes, in restaurants open to the public that can accommodate at least 50 diners and earn less than half their annual revenue from alcohol sales, concealed carrying is permitted in the dining area.
However, carrying a concealed weapon is not allowed in the bar section of these establishments unless there are specific postings that allow it. The law also prohibits concealed carry entirely in standalone bars.
Yes, Kentucky is considered a constitutional carry state.
No Weapon Signs Enforced
No, “No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in Kentucky gun laws. However, the law does authorize any private business to ban concealed carry on their premises, this does not include open carry though. Facilities that lease or rent housing are not permitted to restrict concealed carry.
Private employers can prohibit their own employees from concealing a handgun or other weapons in company owned vehicles but not vehicles that are owned by an individual. State and local government employers can ban the carry of weapons within their buildings but not in vehicles.
Must Notify Officer
No, there is nothing in Kentucky gun laws that states you must inform a law enforcement officer you have a firearm when approached on official business. You are required by law to carry your permit at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun.
The Law KRS 237.110