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Light Gun Control Laws Land Kentucky and Indiana in Top 20 for Gun-related Deaths

Few things can cause an argument more quickly in a crowded room in the United States than the question of whether it is a God-given right for people to own as many firearms as they want. The argument ultimately comes down to the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution, and to a couple of specific passages. Opponents to current laws concerning gun ownership refer to the opening passage, which cites “a well-regulated militia”; they suggest that since most adults aren’t members of a militia, gun ownership is not guaranteed, but can be more heavily regulated. Proponents and those that think it should be easier to get firearms point to the last passage, which states, “the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”; they suggest that the militia part isn’t the essential qualifier, and gun ownership is protected and should not be meddled with.

For those who have differing interpretations of the second amendment, however, the results are the same: Currently in the United States, provided an individual is 18 years of age or older and does not have a felonious record or a record of being involuntarily committed to a mental institution, it is considered a right for them to be able to purchase a firearm for any reason they deem appropriate.

Laws for Gun Ownership

Both the state and federal government have attempted to take a somewhat in-between approach, using gun laws, or laws that regulate the manufacture, sale, use, transport and other factors of gun ownership and use.


In Kentucky, gun control laws are minimal. Simply put, in Kentucky, if an individual is 18 years of age and passes a criminal background check (for handguns), it is legal to own any firearm that may be legally sold in the state and no permit is necessary, so long as the individual is not a convicted felon and has not been involuntarily committed to a mental institution. Laws concerning concealed-carry handguns are slightly more strict: an individual must be a U.S. citizen, a resident of Kentucky for six or more months, 21 years old or older, and pass a Department of Justice approved course. The Kentucky State Police report that 335,000 concealed-carry permits were issued between 1996 and 2015; 9,800 have been revoked and 8,300 have been denied because of background checks.


Indiana laws are similar. Anyone over 18, provided they have not committed a felony, are not addicted to drugs or alcohol and have not been deemed mentally deficient can purchase a firearm, provided they can pass a criminal background check (for handguns). A permit is necessary to carry a handgun in the state, and once granted it also acts as a concealed carry permit. The Indiana State Police offers a web page to start the permit online, submitting fingerprints and then visiting the local police agency for the final steps.

NFA Gun Trusts

In both states, NFA Gun Trusts are available. These trusts allow individuals to purchase what in many cases would be completely illegal weapons, including fully automatic weapons, short-barreled rifles and shotguns and silencers. The trust, once set up, allows individuals to bypass the general purchasing procedure and allows the buyer to receive the weapons or silencers much more quickly. In addition, the trust may also serve several other purposes, including facilitating the final disposition of an individual’s guns. For example, a trust, including the gun owner, a trustee to administer the trust itself, and the beneficiary, can make sure that a gun is removed from the estate after the owner’s death and place the gun with the trustee. In another example, if the owner is declared incompetent for any reason, the guns, again, will be transferred to the trustee or dispersed however the owner of the trust sees fit.

Kentucky and Indiana Statistics and Rankings

While the lax gun-control laws appeal to second-amendment advocates, national statistics show that they may contribute to making both states more dangerous. Kentucky ranks 17th of the 50 states in deaths by firearm per capita, according to CBS News, while Indiana ranks 18th. The top 15 states are predominantly rural, and the top state is Alaska, followed by Louisiana. States with stricter gun control laws, including New York, despite their large population, are in the second half of the list.

The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence states that in 2014, 634 people were killed by guns in Kentucky and 818 in Indiana. Kentucky ranked eighth in crime gun exports and Indiana ranked 10th. This refers to the number of guns purchased in Kentucky or Indiana but found in other states where they had been used in crimes. Because of the ease of access of firearms in Kentucky and Indiana,  it appears that criminals come here to purchase weapons and then transport them across state lines to commit crimes.

Church, Langdon, Lopp, Banet Law has faithfully served the people and communities of Indiana for several years in a variety of criminal defense cases and will help you create a strategy that gives you the chance for the best-possible outcome. With offices in New Albany and attorneys who are licensed to serve the Kentuckiana area, we have the knowledge, experience and resources to help. To ask a question or to set up a consultation, contact us online or call us at 812.725.8224.

Attorney Steve Langdon

Attorney Steve LangdonLicensed to practice in both Indiana and Kentucky, Steve Langdon is an experienced elder law and trial attorney. In addition to his litigation and trial work, Steve’s practice includes wills, trusts, probate, Medicaid planning, guardianship, powers of attorney, and advanced directive planning, including living wills and health care surrogate designations. [ Attorney Bio ]

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