Court Security

Lawyers could carry guns in court if Kentucky governor signs bill

  • Print

gun and gavel

Image from Shutterstock.

Kentucky lawmakers have approved a bill that allows lawyers to carry guns in court.

The bill provides that any lawyer licensed to practice law in Kentucky “may carry a concealed weapon at all locations if the attorney holds a license to carry a concealed weapon under law,” the Louisville Courier Journal reports.

WLKY, WFPL and Spectrum News 1 also have coverage.

The wording was attached as an amendment to an unrelated bill before passing the Kentucky House of Representatives and the Kentucky Senate without debate. Prosecutors and judges are already allowed to carry guns in court.

State Sen. Johnnie Turner, a Republican of Harlan, Kentucky, had added the amendment after a prior measure with additional safeguards died in committee. That prior bill allowed lawyers to bring concealed weapons into the courthouse if they file a notice of intent with the sheriff and show their concealed carry permit to the bailiff when entering the courtroom.

Turner told the Louisville Courier Journal that lawyers should have the same ability to protect themselves as prosecutors and judges.

A spokesperson for Democratic Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear told WLKY that the governor would review the measure, House Bill 690, after it reaches his desk.

A group of judges, lawyers, lawmakers and law enforcement personnel said in a press conference in Louisville, Kentucky, on Monday they oppose the measure. Among the opponents is Jefferson County, Kentucky, Sheriff John Aubrey. He said he could envision a situation in which a client overpowers his lawyer and gets his weapon.

The Louisville Courier Journal referred to an ABA policy, passed by the ABA House of Delegates in 2019, that said weapons in courthouses and courtrooms should be allowed only for those people who are necessary to ensure security, including approved safety officers, judges and court personnel. The policy said training should also be required for those allowed to carry firearms.

Give us feedback, share a story tip or update, or report an error.