Louisville mayor asks state for more freedom on gun laws

  • Kentucky allows any adult to buy and carry a gun legally with no permit
  • There are no background checks required other than those in federal law
  • Police must send confiscated guns to the state police for auction

(NewsNation) — In the wake of a shooting that killed five on Monday, the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, is asking the state legislature to allow the city to implement stricter gun laws.

Kentucky allows adults 21 and older to carry a gun without a permit and in 2019, the state removed provisions that required a background check for concealed carry. While the state is bound by federal rules that prohibit convicted felons from purchasing firearms, the state doesn’t set any additional rules that would prohibit gun ownership for those who have a history of mental illness, domestic violence or violent misdemeanors.

The perpetrator in the shooting obtained the AR-15 he used legally, according to Louisville Metro Police Department Chief Jacquelyn Gwinn-Villaroel.

In a press conference Tuesday, Louisville Mayor Craig Greenberg asked the state’s legislature to allow the city to exercise more control over firearms due to what he called an epidemic of gun violence that isn’t seen in the rest of the state.

“Yesterday’s tragedy brings us to 40 people who’ve been shot to death this year in our city. That level of gun violence is horrific,” Greenberg said.

Greenberg campaigned on tackling gun violence, and just a month ago, made good on one promise to skirt a Kentucky law that requires all confiscated weapons be sent to state police to be auctioned off. Greenberg instructed police in the city to remove the firing pin from all weapons before sending them, making them at least temporarily inoperable.

“It’s time to change this law,” Greenberg said in the press conference. “Let us destroy those guns that killed our friends and neighbors.”

Appearing with Greenberg, Dr. Jason Smith spoke to the press about the shooting, which killed five and injured nine others, including a police officer who was shot in the head and remains in critical but stable condition.

“The events surrounding this made this obviously much more difficult,” Smith said. “But to be honest with you, we barely had to adjust our operating room schedule to be able to do this. That’s how frequently we are having to deal with gun violence in our community.”

Greenberg pleaded with the state to allow the people of Louisville make their own decisions about reducing gun violence. He decried partisan arguments over gun control and said the city would be working on long-term solutions, including mental health care initiatives.

But Greenberg said those aren’t enough.

“We need short-term action to end this gun violence epidemic now, so fewer people die in our streets, banks, schools and churches,” Greenberg said.


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