Handgun

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WDRB) -- A new session of the General Assembly means a new gun fight at the state Capitol.

Lawmakers on both sides of the gun debate are armed with legislation that could impact gun owners.

Two bills in particular reflect the fight over firearms: One does away with almost all restrictions, while the other makes them tighter.

Marlan Ingram, director of training at Open Range Sports in Crestwood, keeps track of gun legislation. He teaches concealed carry classes.

"We, of course, deal with basic marksmanship on the range," Ingram said. "But a huge part of it is the laws regarding carry."

The class includes where permit holders are prohibited from carrying their weapons, such as government buildings.

"That includes schools as well," Ingram said. "Those places are off limits."

Rep. Robert Goforth, a Republican from East Bernstadt, wants to change that, closing what he calls the "loopholes" in the concealed carry law.

Goforth's House Bill 30 would still ban weapons in courtrooms and jails, but permit holders could carry almost anywhere else, including schools and bars.

"It's a public protection bill. I want to make sure that you're protected wherever you go," Goforth said. "I want to make sure you can protect yourself, your family and others, if need be."

On the other side of the aisle, there is a different view of public protection.

"I think that we need to look at the types of weapons that people are purchasing and maybe outlawing some of those," said Rep. George Brown, a Democrat from Lexington.

Brown's House Bill 76 would place further restrictions on gun possession and sale, especially of high-capacity weapons.

"Quasi-weapons of war and mass destruction, I don't think we need them on our streets," Brown said.

It is not clear how much support either approach to guns will receive at the Capitol. Both bills have been assigned to the House Judiciary Committee. Right now, neither has been scheduled for a hearing.

Ingram said he supports more freedom, to a point. But he is wary about allowing guns in bars.

"I've always been of a belief that alcohol and firearms don't mix," he said.

Ingram hopes lawmakers keep both the rights and responsibilities of gun owners in their sights. 

"I think it's always good to be able to sit down, come to the table and find common ground things that make sense," Ingram said.

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