While the nation mourns the 17 students and faculty killed in the Parkland shooting, a Kentucky senate committee passed an NRA-backed concealed carry bill.
The Lexington Herald-Leader reported Thursday that the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee in the Kentucky Senate overwhelmingly passed Senate Bill 150 by a vote of 11-1. The legislation as it’s written would allow Kentuckians to carry a concealed handgun without having to obtain a permit or even undergo firearms training, and has the support of the National Rifle Association.
After passing out of committee, Kentucky senators passed the bill by a 29-8 margin. Gun reform activists criticized the bill as a slap in the face to the survivors of the Parkland shooting.
“This is how our state decided to mark that anniversary of the deadliest high school shooting in our nation’s history — pass more gun legislation, making it easier for people to carry weapons in our state,” Cathy Coatney, the head of the Kentucky chapter of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America, said after the passage of the bill.
However, supporters of Senate Bill 150 said it merely simplifies existing concealed carry laws in commonwealth of Kentucky. Currently, Kentucky gun owners only need to obtain a concealed carry permit if they’re carrying while wearing a coat. NRA Kentucky state director Art Thomm said the bill “just decriminalizes wearing a coat in the state of Kentucky.”
One year ago today, the Parkland shooting took the lives of 17 students and staff at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Many students became staunch advocates for gun reform, and successfully pushed the Florida legislature to adopt a bill that enacted new firearm regulations several weeks after the shooting. The bill raised the minimum age to purchase firearms from 18 to 21, instituted a three-day waiting period for gun purchases in the state of Florida, and provided more funding for school security and mental health counseling.
Senate Bill 150 now heads to the Republican-controlled House, which will likely pass it and send it to the desk of Governor Matt Bevin (R).
Tom Cahill is a contributor for Grit Post who covers political and economic news. He lives in Bend, Oregon. Send him an email at tom DOT v DOT cahill AT gmail DOT com.