Kentucky Senate advances NRA-backed gun bill on Parkland school shooting anniversary

The Kentucky Senate on Thursday voted to advance legislation backed by the National Rifle Association (NRA) that would allow people to carry concealed firearms without a permit or training.

The bill passed the Republican-controlled Senate on the one-year anniversary of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting, that killed 17 students and staff members.

According to the Lexington Herald-Leader, the state Senate overwhelmingly passed the measure, also known as Senate Bill 150, on a 29-8 vote. The bill now heads to the Republican-led House for review.

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If passed, the bill would allow people who are at least 21 years of age or older to carry concealed firearms or other concealed weapons without a license.

State Sen. Brandon Smith (R), who sponsored the legislation, and NRA state director Art Thomm said in a committee hearing that people in Kentucky are already allowed to carry weapons openly without training, according to the paper.

But Smith noted that if a person’s coat covers their firearm, they would then need a permit. Smith said the distinction seemed unfair, while Thomm added that the bill would decriminalize “wearing a coat in the state of Kentucky.”

The bill earned swift criticism from Democrats in the legislature, including state Sen. Julian Carroll who voiced concerns for endangering law enforcement under the new legislation, according to WLWT.

“I don’t believe in putting guns in untrained hands,” state Sen. Denise Harper Angel (D) added, according to the outlet.

If the bill passes, Kentucky will become the 15th state to adopt a permitless carry law, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.