kentucky concealed carry guide

Guide to Kentucky CCW


Kentucky concealed carry laws, like many other states’ gun laws in early 2017, were under review when Senate Bill 7 was proposed in January, which proposed removing the need for a license, among other things.


While that legislation is under review and may change the legal landscape, the “carry concealed deadly weapon license” (CCDW) is still a statewide requirement. Open carry, however, does not require a license. Here’s a primer on navigating the state’s concealed carry laws.


How to apply for a Kentucky concealed carry permit


kentucky ccw permit info



The Kentucky concealed carry permit, which is valid for five years, was issued to more than 39,000 people in 2015, and to nearly 375,000 as of 2015 since the state licensing program began in 1996, according to state reports.


Joining those folks means filling out a CCDW license application form at one’s county sheriff’s office. There will be a $60 fee, $20 of which is payable to the sheriff and the remainder made payable to the Kentucky State Treasurer.


There are two additional requirements: A color photograph and a photocopy of a firearms training course certificate through a Department of Criminal Justice Training program, or a similar program approved by that department. All instructors are listed with one’s local sheriff.


Those who aren’t U.S. citizens, but have been lawfully admitted to the U.S. will also need to submit proof of a permanent resident card, other government issued evidence of lawful admission or other applicable documentation.


Renewal works similarly — same fees, another photograph but no additional training course. A written notice of expiration will be sent within 120 days of expiration, and if not renewed within 6 months after expiration the license application process must be started once again.


Although Kentucky is a “shall issue” state (if all the requirements are met and the documents are turned in, one will receive the license without any other subjective analysis from the issuing authority) that will issue or deny a license within 90 days, an applicant can and will be denied if they don’t fulfill just shy of 20 requirements.


Be sure to read up on the specifics of the Kentucky State Police’s qualifications for a CCDW license. They outline a 21-year-old age requirement, citizenship standards, criminal background restrictions for both misdemeanor and felony convictions, regulations on controlled substance and alcohol abuse, unpaid child support disqualifications, Armed Forces considerations, both written and live-fire training requirements, mental health requirements, domestic violence restrictions and more.


ccw kentucky state

Simply put: there are a few things that can restrict carrying and possessing firearms in this state.


Concerning current or retired law enforcement, there are certain exemptions for the license fee and Kentucky is compliant with the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act. There are a few separate application procedures, however, primarily concerning, but not limited to, verification of current and previous peace officer employment and notarized statements from the respective employing agency. There is a range qualification certification associated with the LEOSA forms.


Not having a license and carrying a concealed deadly weapon is a Class A misdemeanor, but license holders who fail to carry the license when carrying concealed will commit a non-criminal violation punishable by a $25 fine.


The license officially affords the right to carry concealed handguns, long guns, nunchaku karate sticks (if one was wondering), knives other than ordinary pocket knives and hunting knives, blackjacks, artificial knuckles and a few other types of weapons.


But, the license does not afford the right to carry in a few specific locations.


Where Kentucky concealed carry laws restrict CCWs and other firearms


kentucky ccw restrictions


No matter if one has a CCDW license, Kentucky concealed carry laws flat-out restrict firearms in a few key locations throughout the state. Be sure to also abide by all federal location regulations as well, while you’re at it.


Here’s where firearms are restricted in Kentucky State:

  • Airport restricted areas controlled by person and property inspection
  • Child-caring facilities (day care and certified family child care homes)
  • Elementary and secondary school facilities
  • Areas of an establishment that are devoted solely to sales of alcoholic beverages
  • General assembly sessions and committee meetings
  • County, municipality and special district government meetings
  • Courthouses
  • Detention facilities
  • Prisons
  • Jails
  • Police stations
  • Sheriffs’ offices


Take into consideration that post secondary education facilities may regulate firearms on their premises, units of state and local governments may pass regulations as they wish.


Private property owners may prohibit firearms on their premises as well, and not leaving when asked to do so can lead to criminal trespass charges. Aside from specific locations within the state, traveling to and from Kentucky with concealed weapons requires reviewing reciprocity agreements.


A legal disclaimer: contact local authorities about their laws and any other questions related to concealed weapons — this guide is neither exhaustive or formal legal advice.

How Kentucky concealed carry reciprocity works


kentucky concealed carry reciprocity


Kentucky concealed carry reciprocity standards went into effect in 1998. The state recognizes any valid out of state concealed weapons license, and Kentucky’s permit is recognized by a considerable portion of the U.S.


According to the Kentucky State Police, about 35 states recognize the Kentucky CCDW permit, and another three locations should be contacted directly if one is traveling with a Kentucky CCDW license.


Specific states can be reviewed on a Kentucky CCW reciprocity map.


But what if someone is just passing through the state with a firearm in their motor vehicle, but not concealed on their body?


Given that KRS 527.020(8) states, “A loaded or unloaded firearm or other deadly weapon shall not be deemed concealed on or about the person if it is located in any enclosed container, compartment, or storage space installed as original equipment in a motor vehicle by its manufacturer…,” simply keeping a weapon in a vehicle without a CCW permit is not breaking any laws.




gun blog writer jake smith  

About The Author


Jake Smith (@notjakesmith) is a copywriter in his final year of studying public relations and apparel at the University of Idaho.