Follow the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
Tweets from the WDRB Newsroom, Reporters and Anchors.More >>
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new state law has gone into effect that some say makes public buildings less secure. The law makes it easier to carry guns into places like the public library.
The law, which is actually a revision of current law, passed the General Assembly last year and went into effect this month. It essentially affirms that local governments, like Louisville Metro, cannot regulate firearms.
Visitors entering Metro Hall in downtown Louisville must first go through a metal detector and have their bags searched. But while it is still illegal to carry concealed weapons in city buildings, visitors can now openly carry licensed guns.
A local ordinance banning all weapons in city buildings, including the public library, is now off the books.
"With the recent occurrences in the schools, I feel very uncomfortable with that," said library patron Elizabeth Weiss.
Another library customer, Russell Hohman, agreed. "There's a lot of people who are responsible gun owners, so you don't want to take them away," he said. "But at the same time there should be more controls."
According to a new law, only state government has the authority to regulate guns in Kentucky. Any local restrictions are null and void.
"We would hope people would have common sense and keep their weapons at home, but it just adds another element that we would just as soon not deal with," said Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
Supporters of the law say it simply does away with the mishmash of local gun laws and clarifies the rules for everyone. The law passed overwhelmingly last year in both the Senate and the House.
Sen. Walter Blevins of West Liberty was one "yes" vote. He talked about gun rights as he attended a pro-gun rally in Frankfort on Saturday.
"My own opinion is that we should be able to protect ourselves, and we should be able to protect those that can't protect themselves," he said.
But Louisville Congressman John Yarmuth, says the new state law underscores the need for federal gun reform.
"What it basically reflects is an attitude that the only way to be safe in this country is to win a gunfight. That's not the kind of society we want for our people, and I think this is a step backward," he said.
Guns are still banned by state law in places such as jails and courts. And private businesses can still prohibit guns on their property.