Kentucky becomes Second Amendment sanctuary

Mark Payne
Mark Payne
Mark Payne is the government and politics reporter for LINK nky. Email him at [email protected]

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A bill that makes Kentucky a Second Amendment Sanctuary became law after Secretary of State Michael Adams said he received the bill Tuesday morning without the governor’s signature. 

In Kentucky, if the governor fails to sign or veto a bill, it automatically becomes a law. 

Filed by Rep. Josh Bray (R-Mount Vernon), House Bill 153 is a duplicate bill filed last year that essentially prevents a federal ban on firearms — were it to happen — from applying in Kentucky. 

A new aspect of the bill would prevent civil liabilities if somebody violated the federal ban. 

“In short, what it does is it prohibits local law enforcement from using tax dollars to implement a federal firearms and ammunition ban,” Bray said, noting that it’s even more pertinent this year because of the ATF’s recent ban on pistol braces. 

Taking effect on Jan. 31, the new rule bans pistol braces. Previously, guns with 16-inch barrels or less with a stabilizing brace were considered pistols. Under the new rule, those guns are classified as short-barreled rifles that require a license. 

Bray disagreed with the definition. 

“It’s a firearm accessory that might help somebody with a disability shoot a pistol if they don’t have a lot of hand stability,” Bray said. 

The braces were allowed under Barrack Obama’s and Donald Trump’s administrations, according to Bray. That has changed under the Biden administration. 

“What the ATF has decided is that you can either register your firearm, or you can destroy it, or … it’s a felony,” Bray said. “…I know a bunch of people have contacted me about this, and you know, I think it’s important that we can give Kentuckians peace of mind that the sheriff’s department or the city police isn’t just going to roll up and start enforcing this.”

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The bill failed in the Senate last year but cleared that hurdle after legislators in the upper chamber argued whether or not the bill would violate the constitution. 

Rep. Savannah Maddox (R-Dry Ridge) who has championed gun legislation in the legislature, said the passage is a step in the right direction.

“HB 153 is a step in the right direction as it makes clear that Kentucky’s law enforcement officers shall not violate their oath to uphold the Constitution by enforcing unconstitutional gun control initiated the federal level,” Maddox said. “However, there is more work that needs to be done by our Republican Supermajority to protect the right of law-abiding citizens to keep and bear arms.”

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