The GOP-led General Assembly is sending Governor Beshear a bill, SB 153, to designate Kentucky a Second Amendment Sanctuary State. In its simplest explanation, the law would prevent local law enforcement from enforcing federal firearms laws.
Advocates say that this would prevent the federal government from enacting “tyrannical” laws that would deprive Kentuckians of their guns to protect themselves or for any other purpose. They assert the right of Kentuckians to defend themselves.
Kentucky ranks 12th in gun ownership and 18th in murder rates, in both counts, well above states with more restrictive gun laws, like New York, New Jersey, and California.
Opponents point out that it creates an untenable situation for local law enforcement. If the FBI or the DEA seeks to enlist the assistance of the local law enforcement agency, those officers could be charged with violating state law if they assist.
On Tuesday, President Biden signed an Executive Order increasing federal firearms background checks. Essentially, the order tells the Attorney General to clarify what it means to "engaged in the business" of selling firearms. This would allow for increased enforcement on those individuals who sell guns but avoid background checks and those who aren't aware that they have to do background checks.
Biden has been trying to get an assault weapons ban and universal background checks through Congress, but the Republican-led House won’t even consider these ideas.
It’s unclear if Beshear will sign the law or simply let it become law by default.
Billy Mosley, Lead Reporter for The Kentucky Daily