Senator Thomas pre-files bill to reduce gun violence through local gun control regulations

Senator Thomas pre-files bill to reduce gun violence through local gun control regulations

Bill Stephens

October 31st, 2016



FRANKFORT – Senator Reginald Thomas, D-Lexington, has attended three vigils in the last month for victims of gun violence. One victim was 15 years old, another was in her early twenties and pregnant, and the third was a father in his mid-twenties.

They were all, in Senator Thomas’ opinion, too young to die. Tired of senseless violence and tragedies such as those in these three stories, he has decided to do something about it.

Senator Thomas pre-filed legislation today to address the growing problem of gun violence.

“It is time,” he said. “No, it is past time that we addressed this problem. Gun violence is a growing problem everywhere and Kentucky is not an exception. Too many lives are ending in tragedy because of gun violence. We must look seriously at this issue and find a way to reduce the number of victims of gun violence.”

In the United States, gun violence claims more than 30,000 lives annually, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Approximately 100,000 people in the U.S. are victims of gun violence every year. These figures do not include the countless others whose lives were forever changed by the death and injuries of their loved ones.

In order to reduce gun violence, urban-county governments and consolidated local governments, such as Lexington and Louisville, would be granted the ability to regulate firearms by ordinance. Under Senator Thomas’ legislation, they also would be able to regulate the manufacture, sale, purchase, taxation, transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, storage, and transportation of firearms, firearms components, ammunition, and ammunition components, as long as it does not conflict with the U.S. Constitution.

Currently, Kentucky ranks fourth in the 10 states with the least restrictive gun laws, according to Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.

“The intent of this legislation is not to take people’s guns, but rather to put into place regulations that in essence will save lives,” said Senator Thomas. “I do not want, nor do I want anyone else, to have to mourn the loss of another young person or an elderly person whose life was cut short by gun violence.”

Under the legislation, an ordinance regulating firearms or ammunition that is issued by the council of a consolidated local government shall apply within the jurisdiction boundaries of all cities within that consolidated local government, and no city within the consolidated local governments shall preempt the controls.

BR 172 will be considered during the 2017 Regular Session, which will convene Tuesday, Jan. 3.

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