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Senate Approves Bills On Abortion and Gun Carry Issues

Stu Johnson
During debate on gun carry legislation, Paducah Senator Danny Carroll in the foreground with Bill Sponsor Brandon Smith behind him.

The Kentucky Senate has overwhelmingly approved abortion and gun-related legislation.

The Senate voted 29 to 8 in favor of allowing anyone 21 and older to carry a weapon without a license.  Majority Floor Leader Damon Thayer of Scott County was one of those voting in the majority. “All this does is saying that wearing a coat around over the top of your legally carried firearm doesn’t make you a felon.  That’s all,” said Thayer.

Kentucky is already an open carry state, allowing guns to be carried without a license in plain view.  Carrying a concealed weapon requires training and a license.

Casting a no vote was Lexington Senator Reggie Thomas who claimed passage of Senate Bill 150 would be in contrast to already approved school safety legislation.

“Why should they say that we are seriously concerned about school safety, we turn right around and say within a week that now you can walk around Kentucky without a license and carry a gun,” said Thomas.

Also yesterday afternoon, the Senate voted 31 to 6 in favor of legislation prohibiting most abortions if a fetal heartbeat is detectable.

Freshman legislator Matt Castlen of Owensboro brought the bill to the floor.  “Senate Bill 9 known as the fetal heartbeat bill says that once that heartbeat is detected in its mother’s womb, you can no longer end this child’s life.  It’s simply understanding that that heartbeat is undeniably life,” said Castlen.

Louisville Senator Denise Harper Angel cast a no vote, saying attention should be given to other issues.  “We have an opioid crisis, we have a pension crisis, we have ten thousand children in foster care that we’re not addressing.  So, I’m wondering why we’re spending scarce resources defending a clearly unconstitutional bill,” noted Harper Angel.

In making his aye vote, Senate President Robert Stivers said the final verdict on whether such a bill would be constitutional has not been determined. 

Stu Johnson is a reporter/producer at WEKU in Lexington, Kentucky.
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