Proposed bill would require guns to be properly secured in Kentucky
Unlawful storage could mean fines and jail time.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A bill pre-filed for the 2018 General Assembly would make it a crime to keep guns unsecured.
The proposal by Rep. Jim Wayne (D-Louisville) would require gun owners to properly store their weapons to keep them out of the hands of children.
“I think it's important for all of us to be aware how dangerous guns are, and when they're available to children, they're super-dangerous," Wayne said." We've seen that here in our community repeatedly."
In July, a 2-year-old Louisville boy was shot and killed when he and his brother found a loaded gun. The gun owner was not charged with a crime, but under Wayne's bill, he could have been.
“The idea is that we do want to have some sanctions on people who are irresponsible with guns,” Wayne said.
The bill would require guns to be locked away in a safe or cabinet or secured with a gun lock. Unlawful storage would be a Class B misdemeanor, subject to a fine of up to $250 and up to 90 days in jail.
If a child is hurt or killed by an unsecured gun, that would be a Class A misdemeanor, which could mean a $500 fine and up to year in jail.
“The intent is not so much to punish people for having guns that are not in a secure position, but to educate the public,” Wayne said.
Barry Laws provides a lock with every gun he sells at his Open Range gun store in Crestwood. He believes gun owners should be held accountable.
“If you're not securing your firearm and a child gets it, and hurts himself or others, I absolutely feel the parents need to be held responsible for that action,” Laws said.
But Laws said making gun security, or the lack of it, a crime, goes too far.
“You have it by your bedside, and nobody lives with you except your wife. There's no children in the house, whatsoever. That's problematic for me,” he said.
But Wayne believes he can get bipartisan support for protecting children.
“This is a reasonable piece of legislation that I think anyone who is a gun rights advocate would say, 'I can support that,'” Wayne said.
A similar bill introduced in the 2017 session by Sen. Gerald Neal of Louisville never made it to the floor for a vote.
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