Ky. lawmaker wants to allow Louisville and Lexington to pass their own gun control laws
Sen. Reggie Thomas (D-Lexington) says large cities and rural areas should not have to follow same rules
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A Kentucky lawmaker wants to give Louisville more ammunition in the fight against gun violence.
Right now, state law prohibits local communities from passing their own gun control laws, but Sen. Reggie Thomas, a Democrat from Lexington, is trying to change that.
Louisville is on pace for more than 100 murders this year, but the increasing violence is not just a Louisville problem.
"Within the last six weeks, I have gone to two vigils and one funeral," Thomas told WDRB.
Thomas has filed a bill that would allow Kentucky's two largest cities, Louisville and Lexington, to pass their own gun control laws.
"And give those two cities, and those two cities only, the right to address the manufacture, distribution, use, possession of handguns in their communities," said Thomas.
Thomas says he's not opposed to legal gun ownership, but says the major cities should not be forced to have the same rules as rural areas.
"You don't need handguns for sport, unless you want to kill somebody, and that’s not the kind of sport we want to encourage," Thomas said.
The chairman the Senate Judiciary Committee questions whether gun control laws really curb violence.
"I don't think they are particularly effective," said Sen. Whitney Westerfield (R-Hopkinsville.)
Westerfield says he's also concerned the bill could one day lead to a patchwork of different laws across the state.
"Are you allowed to carry concealed here, are you not? Are you allowed to have this sort of firearm, but not this sort of firearm, but you can if you are this county? I think it's confusing for the people of Kentucky. That does not mean it’s not something worth talking about," he said.
Thomas knows the bill is a longshot to pass, but he will likely have an ally in Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.
"Let's keep the Second Amendment strong, but let's do what we can do to avoid the loss of life in our community," Fischer told WDRB in an interview in September.
Thomas says the bill, at its core, is about saving the lives of young people.
"I want to have that common-sense discussion. It’s about time."
Thomas says he may name the bill for Trinity Gay, the daughter of Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay, who was killed in crossfire last month as she left a Lexington restaurant.
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