FRANKFORT—The right of off-duty and retired law enforcement officers to carry concealed weapons in the same locations as on-duty officers would be affirmed under a bill passed Wednesday by the House Judiciary Committee.
Rep. Steve Riggs, D-Louisville, said he filed House Bill 314 at the request of the Jefferson County Attorney’s Office in response to a situation in which off-duty officers were prohibited from carrying concealed weapons into a Louisville Palace event. Such situations are especially problematic in Louisville where, Riggs said, police officers are required to carry their weapons both on-duty and off.
He said HB 314 clarifies current law that allows Kentucky law enforcement officers to concealed carry whether or not they are on-duty officers, retired officers, or off-duty officers authorized to concealed carry by their employer.
“What we’re trying to do here is just have a duplicate statute in a section that makes it really clear that this has always been our intent and we want to make it real clear,” said Riggs.
The bill passed the committee with the support of lawmakers like Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, who described HB 314 as a life-saving bill.
“There are many people who have had their lives spared because an off-duty police officer or retired police officer was able to deescalate or neutralize a threat. So we’re grateful to you, this is a great bill, I’m voting yes,” Benvenuti said.
Voting against the bill was Rep. Mary Lou Marzian, D-Louisville, who said carrying a gun “gives a false sense of security.”
“It just encourages and proliferates more violence in our society. I vote no,” she said.
HB 314, which is also sponsored by Rep. Charles Miller, D-Louisville, now goes to the full House for consideration.