It's an hour before suppertime, and the line outside Lone Oak First Baptist Church in Paducah, Ky., is wrapped around the building. The people are waiting for more than a Bible sermon; there's a raffle tonight. Twenty-five guns are up for grabs.
There's nothing new about gun raffles in Kentucky, even at a church. Last year, there were 50 events like this one in the state. The Kentucky Baptist Convention says it's a surefire way to get new people through church doors.
The Kentucky senate has passed a bill to create a quick process for domestic violence victims to obtain temporary concealed weapons permits. The bill would allow abuse victims receiving court-issued protective orders to apply for provisional concealed carry permits lasting 45 days.
Republican senator Jared Carpenter said his bill would help abuse victims better protect themselves. Democratic senator Robin Webb called it a good deterrent, noting protective orders are made of paper. The measure passed the senate 35-0 and now goes to the house which has passed a similar bill.
Under the senate bill temporary permit applications would go to state police. Background checks would be required before the permits would be issued and victims could receive firearms safety training with 45 days to convert short term permits into regular concealed carry licenses.
Legislation that would allow those with permits to carry concealed weapons into bars and restaurants is on its way to the Kentucky House. The Senate passed the measure Thursday by a 30-4 vote.
Northern Kentucky Senator John Schickel believes Senate Bill 60 is all about the right to defend oneself. Speaking on the Senate floor, Schickel said crime rates and gun-related accidents have fallen since concealed carry laws were established.
Schickel says there is a place for gun possession in a bar.
“Now some have said that’s crazy, how could you, how could you Mr. President, how could you mix guns and alcohol, that’s very irresponsible," said Schickel. "Well, Mr. President, actually the opposite is true, the opposite is true. This law strictly forbids anyone to consume alcohol while they have a concealed carry weapon.”
Schickel says bar owners can still opt to not allow concealed weapons in their establishments.
One of the four "no" votes came from Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas, who argued policing the law will be very difficult. He says gun owners could feel “entitled” and “one thing could lead to another,” ending in violence.
A Kentucky lawmaker has deleted a Thanksgiving Tweet over concerns it may be misinterpreted as a joke about Native American genocide.
In response to comments on gun control made by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Kentucky Rep. Brian Linder, a Republican from Dry Ridge, tweeted Friday that “If the Pilgrims had gun control, we wouldn’t have Thanksgiving.”
Linder explained to Kentucky Public Radio that the joke was about gun control preventing pilgrims from hunting turkeys.
“Thanksgiving is, you know, traditionally you have turkey, and so what I meant was you wouldn’t be able to have turkey. I know see that it, I could see where people have misunderstood what I meant.”
Louisville Rep. Reginald Meeks, who is part Cherokee, doesn't believe it. He called Linder’s comments” beyond offensive” and said they represent an ignorance of American history.
A bill is gaining steam in Tennessee that would allow teachers and other staff members with a background in policing to carry guns in schools. The Tennessean reports the measure is a compromise between those who want all teachers to be allowed to carry guns, and those who want to increase the number of armed security guards in Volunteer State schools.
The bill would allow school personnel who have worked as police officers to get certification allowing them to bring their weapons to work. Gov. Bill Haslam backs the plan, saying it strikes a good balance between cost considerations, school safety, and local control.
House Bill 6 is moving its way through legislative committees in Nashville and could reach the floors of the state House and Senate before the session adjourns next week.
The Kentucky Department of Criminal Justice training said the number declined to 8,677 in February, but it was still at least double that of any month last year, aside from December. The training is required to receive a concealed carry license, which allows Kentuckians to carry a weapon out of sight under their clothing in public.
Faith Yount recently took a class at Open Range in Crestwood. After inheriting guns when her father died, the 38-year-old decided to get a license to protect herself and because "you don't know what will happen" with gun control.
Murray State University has changed its policy for guns on campus to require everyone but uniformed personnel to leave weapons inside their cars. The move made last week came in the wake of a Kentucky Supreme Court decision in April saying the University of Kentucky improperly fired student from an on-campus job for having a gun in his car.