Kentucky residents have always been fiercely independent, which may be the primary reason that gun rights in the state are very liberal. Many people carry their guns openly, although the state also allows many residents to carry concealed weapons — even without a special license.
However, special rules regarding firearms apply to minors. While minors in the state are generally able to possess rifles and shotguns (which are considered hunting tools), that rule changes when handguns are involved. In Kentucky, minors are prohibited from manufacturing, transporting and possessing handguns unless:
- They are taking part in a firearms safety course or a course on hunting safety
- They are using the gun at a firing range or shooting targets in an area where that is legally allowed
- They are participating in an organized competition that requires the use of a firearm
- They are part of a performance by a nonprofit group (like a historical society)
- They’re hunting or trapping and have a valid Kentucky license to do so
- They are traveling to or from any of the above activities and the gun is unloaded during the transport
- They are on the property of an adult, with permission of both that adult and their parent or legal guardian (if not the same person) to have that handgun
- They are in their own residence and have the handgun with their parent’s or legal guardian’s permission and use it in a justified act of force (for example, against a dangerous intruder)
It’s also smart to remember that a handgun is considered “loaded” even when there’s no bullets in the cartridge, cylinder or magazine of a gun, so long as the bullets are either also in the minor’s possession or can be easily accessed.
With all these exceptions, it’s natural that people sometimes get confused or make a mistake. If you’ve been charged with giving a minor a handgun illegally or your minor child has been charged with a handgun offense, get experienced legal representation to protect your rights.