UPDATE | Gov. Bevin signs bill to allow conceal carry without permit/training

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP/WSAZ/WKYT) -- UPDATE 3/12/19 @ 11:58 a.m.
Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin has signed into law an NRA-backed measure which will allow people to conceal carry without a permit.

Bevin signed Senate Bill 150 into law Monday, WKYT reports. It allows Kentuckians 21 and older who can lawfully possess a firearm to be able to conceal it without a permit.

Bill supporters say the bill reinforces Kentuckians' constitutional rights, while some opponents feat it will only increase gun violence.

The NRA said Kentucky is the 16th state to allow for permitless conceal carry.

The law goes into effect on June 26.

UPDATE 3/1/19 @ 4:55 p.m.
Kentucky lawmakers have approved a bill to allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training.

The bill, backed by the National Rifle Association, won final House passage Friday and now goes to Gov. Matt Bevin.

Under the measure, Kentuckians able to lawfully possess a firearm could conceal their weapons without a license. A gun-carrying permit now carries a fee and training requirement. An NRA official told lawmakers recently that about 10 states had adopted such bills to end concealed carry permits.

Supporters in Kentucky said the bill is a recognition of gun-ownership rights.

They said Kentuckians already can carry weapons openly without any training. But if they carry a gun under a coat, they currently need a permit.

Opponents objected to dropping the training requirement.

UPDATE 2/15/19 @ 6:15 p.m.
New rules are under consideration to allow people to carry concealed guns in Kentucky without a license or any training.

It's an idea that's been legal in West Virginia for a couple of years.

It overwhelmingly passed the Kentucky Senate on Thursday and is now in the hands of state representatives.

While some gun owners are excited about the possibility for new freedom, others like Audrea Nowlin believe it's a dangerous step.

Nowlin was enjoying the balmy day Friday with her two boys. She's not a gun owner, but her father and grandfather are. Her dad even has a conceal carry permit and was forced to take an eight-hour course.

"It might seem like an inconvenience to some people, but safety should outweigh inconvenience,” Nowlin said. “It should especially when you’re dealing with something that's dangerous and that's volatile."

But the bill which passed the State Senate would allow anyone who can legally open carry to conceal carry without the need for a permit.

"It's a little disturbing,” Nowlin said. “I would want to be aware if someone was carrying around my kids because if I don't know them, I don't know if they're responsible, especially if this passes and they don't even have to get a background check to obtain it."

Brenda Baier, who was at the park nearby with her grandson, disagrees.

"I think it's great,” Baier said.

She owns a gun but rarely carries because she doesn't have a conceal carry permit. If this passes, that will change.

"Yeah, I think it would," she said.

She would especially like to carry when visiting bigger cities where she's felt unsafe before.

"I would feel better to know that I can protect myself," Baier said.

Kentucky is an open carry state already.

Mike Crawford, the general manager of Bare Arms Indoor Gun Range in Ashland, showed us how easy it is to go from legally carrying to illegally carrying if you don’t have a permit. All he has to do is put his shirt over his handgun.

"It's not a whole lot of difference. Other people shouldn't know you’re carrying if you conceal carry correctly," Crawford said.

Close to 40 people a week sign up for a conceal carry class course at the two Bare Arms locations combined. The course is offered every Saturday. Crawford hopes if the law passes, demand won't change.

"We do want people to be safe and responsible gun owners," he said.

But Nowlin has her doubts and believes this will put more guns in the hands of people who have no business carrying them.

"I just think that's irresponsible and dangerous," she said.

Authorities in Kentucky, Ohio and West Virginia recognized each others' conceal carry permits. But people who legally conceal carry in West Virginia without a permit have to leave their gun at home when they cross the state line.

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would allow people to carry a concealed handgun without a permit or training.

The measure, called the “permitless carry bill” and backed by the National Rifle Association, cleared the Senate on a 29-8 vote on Thursday, a few hours after a committee advanced it. The bill now goes to the House.

Senators who voted against the bill raised concerns about removing gun training as a condition for Kentuckians to carry concealed weapons. They framed it as a safety issue.

Supporters say Kentuckians already can carry weapons openly without a license or training. But if they conceal that weapon under a coat, they're breaking the law without a carry conceal permit. They say the bill would remedy that.

Another provision states no one would be allowed to carry or possess any deadly weapon where it is already prohibited by federal law.

Senate Bill 150 now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration.

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