Bill would allow concealed weapons in bars - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Bill would allow concealed weapons in bars

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- Do guns and alcohol mix? At least one Kentucky lawmaker thinks they do.

He's sponsoring a proposal that would expand where gun owners can carry their weapons.

The bill, SB 60, would allow those who have concealed weapons permits to take those weapons into bars, on one condition: that they do not drink.

Under current state law, concealed weapons are not allowed in bars, period. SB 60 would change that, as long as the person carrying the weapon lays off the alcohol.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. John Schickel (R-Union) says it's already being done, illegally. He just wants to make it legal.

"The bad guys can take guns in bars now, and do. So, it only stands to reason that a person who's not drinking, that has a concealed carry permit, be allowed to defend themselves," said Schickel.

But the Kentucky leader of the pro-gun control group, Moms Demand Action, says SB 60 is a tragedy waiting to happen. Tracy Goodlett says guns and alcohol are a bad mix.

"You know a lot of times people drink and you'll have the expression "bar brawl." Well, now throw a gun into it. It's just not a good idea," she said. 

But Schickel tried to shoot down that argument.

"The results have been just the opposite. These establishments become safer," said Schickel. "Every time we've expanded concealed-carry permits, we've had the crime rates go down, not up."

A Senate committee approved the bill 9-0. Democrat Morgan McGarvey of Louisville voted yes only after a provision was added allowing individual bar owners to ban concealed weapons if they choose.

"My concern was this bill took away the ability of bar owners to prohibit people from bringing weapons into their bars. The statute as it reads right now -- and I've been assured by the sponsor and by legal counsel -- the statute as it reads right now does give bar owners the right to keep people out for brining weapons into their bar," he said.

The next stop, a debate on the Senate floor, where passage is likely. Opponents say they'll take their fight to the Kentucky House.

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