FRANKFORT, Ky. – A new proposal would put tighter restrictions on assault weapons in Kentucky.
Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Fairdale, pre-filed Bill Request 354, which bans the possession or transfer of assault weapons and requires current gun owners to register what the bill defines as assault weapons with the state.
Donohue said after the shooting at Marshall County High School nearly two years ago, things need to change.
“I stood on the House floor and I said, ‘We got to do something about these weapons and we have to take these guns out of these folks’ hands,'” Donohue said. “And if we don’t do something, then shame on us.”
Donohue said his main goal with the bill is safety.
“It’s all about a mindset. We need to change the mindset about weapons that’s in the Commonwealth,” Donohue said. “I’m a gun owner myself and I’m not trying to take anybody’s rights away from them, but we have to take those types of weapons out of folks hands that’s using them for the wrong uses.”
Stephen McBride is president of the Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition, a gun rights group. He said the bill violates both the U.S. and the Kentucky state constitution.
“We have a Bill of Rights, we don’t have a bill of needs,” McBride said. “We do not have to prove a need to get these weapons. We have a right to own them.”
Donohue said he doesn’t feel like the proposal is an infringement on the Second Amendment.
“Show me the justification of what that gun is used for,” Donohue said. “Those types of weapons are used for mass destruction. That’s exactly what they’re designed for. They’re not designed for hunting or anything like that.”
The bill carves out exceptions for military personnel and police officers.
It also creates a buyback program with the Kentucky State Police.
Despite Republican majorities in both chambers of the legislature, Donohue said he feels like there’s enough support for the bill to pass in next year’s session.