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‘Permitless carry’ puts good citizens at a disadvantage

The Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution provides U.S. citizens the right to bear arms. The amendment, adopted in 1791, reads:

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

For nearly 228 years, Americans have been debating and arguing over its interpretation, meaning and whether it provides collective gun rights or individual gun rights.

The collective group thinks the amendment gives states the right to train and maintain a formal army, the “well regulated militia” clause – meaning the right to bear arms should only be given to the militia, and only those militia members have the right to carry guns legally.

The individualists believe the Second Amendment gives every U.S. citizen the right to protect themselves by owning a firearm and that ownership is free from federal (and state) regulations and oversight. They tout the fact that the amendment’s militia clause was never meant to curtail the citizenry the right to bear arms.

Both sides’ interpretations have fueled our nation’s gun control debate for years. The supporters of an individual’s right to own a gun argue the Second Amendment should give all citizens, not just members of a militia, the right to own a firearm. The stricter gun control law groups think the Second Amendment has to have restrictions on guns: what kinds of firearms can people buy, who can own them, under what conditions and where can they be displayed and carried are just a few of the restrictions.

Currently, Kentuckians have to have a state-issued license to carry a concealed firearm or other weapon such as a switchblade knife or nunchucks. To be issued a permit, you must be over 21 years of age, take a six-hour class presented by a certified instructor, pass a 25-question written test, hit a life-size paper target with 11 of 20 shots from 21 feet away and pass a Kentucky State Police background check.

You must pay a $60 fee at the time of the application, with $20 going to the sheriff ’s department of your county of residence and the other $40 allocated to the KSP and the Administrative Office of the Courts, by statute.

There is a growing movement among states to allow their populations to carry a concealed gun without a permit. “Permitless carry,” or “constitutional carry,” as the legislation is called, reads that citizens have a constitutional right to carry a gun with as few restrictions imposed on them as possible at the state and federal level.

Here in Kentucky, “constitutional carry” legislation is pending after the state Senate recently voted 29-8 to pass Senate Bill 150. The bill, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, will now go to the state House of Representatives, where it will be referred to the Judiciary Committee for further consideration.

Many gun rights advocates are expecting SB 150 to pass.

While we staunchly defend the Second Amendment rights of Kentuckians, we firmly believe that doing away with the long-standing permitting system in the state threatens the safety of our communities and our commonwealth by not providing for the basic fundamentals and training of firearm safety and the legal ramifications and penalties of owning or using a firearm improperly.

We do not support Senate Bill 150 because we don’t believe allowing our residents to conceal carry a gun without any idea of how to use it or when deadly force is justified is not good policy for our state.

Carrying a firearm, especially a concealed firearm, is a great responsibility.

We do believe that the better trained a concealed carrier is, the more of a deterrent he or she is against would-be attackers. Let’s face it, criminals don’t follow the laws and most of the time don’t buy guns legally. But why do away with requirements that at least give honest, law-abiding citizens the opportunity to learn the basics, so that when they do feel the only way to protect themselves is to pull a concealed firearm, they have a fighting chance?

Legislating away that required training puts Kentucky concealed carriers at a disadvantage.

— Bowling Green Daily News

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