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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must reside in Kentucky for at least 6 months prior to applying
- Valid for 5 years
- Costs $50
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm may open carry. No permit is required in this case.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
No – you may open carry or carry concealed with a concealed carry permit.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Kentucky is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a concealed carry permit in Kentucky, you are required to apply at the sheriff’s office in your county of residence.
- Complete a firearm training course approved by the Department of Criminal Justice Training. Check with your local sheriff’s office for a list of certified instructors.
- Go to your local county sheriff’s office to complete an application. Bring the following items with you :
- A copy of the certificate that proves you completed a KY approved handgun competency course.
- A copy of your KY state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- A color frontal photograph of yourself from the past 30 days. The photo must be passport style (2 inches by 2 inches) from the shoulders up.
- State Police Fee: A check or money order for $40 made payable to “Kentucky State Treasurer“.
- Local Sheriff’s Fee: A check or money order for $20 made payable to “Sheriff of ________ County“.
- After turning in the application and other items, the sheriff’s office will likely take a complete set of fingerprints. These are needed to initiate a criminal background check.
After these steps are completed, the Kentucky State Police is legally required to inform you in 90 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. You will be notified by mail. All denials may be appealed.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
Your application is almost guaranteed to be denied if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of kidnapping.
- You’ve been convicted of robbery.
- You’ve been convicted of burglary.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You’ve been convicted of a violation of assault in the 4th degree (KRS 508.030) or terroristic threatening in the 3rd degree (KRS 508.080) within the last 3 years.
- You have 2 or more convictions for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or another controlled substance within the last 3 years.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
- You owe child support which equals or exceeds the cumulative amount which would be owed after 1 year of nonpayment.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- School property.
- Daycare or other child care facilities.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Police or sheriff’s offices.
- Jails, prisons, or other correctional facilities.
- Psychiatric hospitals or mental institutions.
- At any meeting of the governing body of a county, municipality, or special district, unless the licensee is a member of that body.
- At any meeting of the General Assembly or a committee of the General Assembly, unless the licensee is a member of that body.
- Bars, or portions of establishments licensed to dispense alcohol for consumption on the premises.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout KY
With a Concealed Carry Permit
If you have an KY or KY recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a loaded handgun on your person in a vehicle.
Without a Concealed Carry Permit
If you legally possess a handgun, but do not have an KY or KY recognized concealed carry permit, you may transport a loaded handgun in any closed container, compartment, or storage space installed as original equipment in a vehicle by its manufacturer. Some examples of a closed compartment/storage space are seat-back pockets, the glove compartment, and center console. The compartment or storage space does not have to be locked.
Additional Notes About KY Handgun Law
Does KY Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does KY Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does KY Recognize?
ALL. KY honors every other states’ concealed carry permits. However, you must be a minimum of 21 years of age for your permit to be recognized.
Reciprocity – Where is the KY Permit Recognized?
The KY concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states: