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A Senate committee advanced a bill Thursday morning that would no longer require Kentuckians over the age of 20 to undergo training and obtain a permit before they can carry a concealed deadly weapon.

The Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection passed Senate Bill 150 by an 11-1 vote, with only Sen. Denise Harper Angel, D-Louisville, voting against it.

The current statutes and regulations in Kentucky require residents to take a firearms safety course and marksmanship test before obtaining a permit. Only 10 states currently allow concealed carry without requiring any training, permit or notification of carrying such a weapon.

Senate Bill 150 sponsor Sen. Brandon Smith, R-Hazard, testified that the legislation is necessary because the state currently criminalizes citizens who need to carry a gun for their safety but don’t have the time or money to obtain a permit. He added that the bill continues to restrict those convicted of a felony from carrying a gun.

Explaining her vote against the bill, Harper Angel noted that she has had a concealed carry permit for 20 years and said that ending the training requirement for a permit would put people’s safety at risk.

“The basic fundamental instructions that I underwent to receive that card gave me the confidence that I could handle that weapon, not only to protect myself but to not hurt myself,” Harper Angel said. “And I think taking away that training is certainly going in the wrong direction.”

The bill is expected to pass the full Senate by the end of this week.

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Joe Sonka
Joe Sonka is a staff writer at Insider Louisville focusing on government, politics, education and public safety. He is a former news editor and staff writer at LEO Weekly and has also freelanced for The Nation and ThinkProgress. He has won first place awards from the Louisville Metro chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists in the categories of Health Reporting, Enterprise Reporting, Government/Politics, Minority/Women’s Affairs Reporting, Continuing Coverage and Best Blog. Email him at [email protected]