Gov. Bevin expected to sign bill allowing off-duty and retired officers to carry concealed weapons
The bill was prompted by an incident last December at the Louisville Palace
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Gov. Matt Bevin is expected to sign a bill allowing off-duty police officers to carry their weapons almost anywhere, and an incident in Louisville is what is sparking the change in state law.
The idea for the bill began at the Louisville Palace last December.
Several off-duty LMPD officers were denied entry to a concert, unless they left their guns behind.
The problem is, Louisville police officers are required to carry their weapons at all times, for the public's safety and their own.
“We get paid, typically 40 hours a week, to work 40 hours. But we're really, essentially, on duty 24-7. The bad guys out there, the criminal element, they don't know if we're on-duty or off-duty,” said Officer Nicolai Jilek of the River City FOP.
By law, private property owners can decide whether to allow weapons. The question is, does that also apply to police officers?
The sponsor of House Bill 314 says it's designed to clear up any confusion.
“We do give the building owner the right to say, if you're just a normal citizen, we don't allow guns in this facility. We're not talking about normal citizens. We're talking about people that are trained,” said Rep. Steve Riggs (D-Louisville.)
Riggs says the bill applies to both off-duty and retired officers.
He believes it will help increase security at venues like the Palace.
“They might see a situation when they're off-duty or on vacation, or even when they're retired, in which they have to enforce the law or protect someone from harm,” Riggs said.
House Bill 314 has cleared both the House and Senate, and Gov. Bevin could sign it as early a next week.
There is no penalty if businesses do not comply, but they could be taken to court.
“It just gives me peace of mind to know that I've got state law, a very clear state law, behind me,” Jilek said.
California-based Live Nation, which owns the Palace, has repeatedly declined to comment on its gun policy.
House Bill 314 has an emergency provision, so it will become law as soon as Gov. Bevin signs it.
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