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Gun Control Advocates Rally For Kentucky ‘Red Flag’ Law

Ryland Barton

Gun safety advocates rallied in the state Capitol on Thursday in an attempt to put pressure on the Republican-led legislature to pass gun control measures.

The event held by Moms Demand Action comes weeks after armed gun rights advocates rallied in the state Capitol to protest proposals like a “red flag” law.

Such measures allow courts to temporarily take guns away from people determined to be a danger to themselves or others.

Anita Franklin is a gun control advocate from Lexington whose son was shot in 2014 while playing basketball. She said Kentuckians need to elect officials who will support common sense gun laws.

“Just like we elected a new governor, changes can and will be made. We are not playing games and again, you’ve messed with the wrong mom this time,” Franklin said.

Support for gun rights runs deep in Kentucky’s Republican-led legislature and lawmakers have refused to take up gun restrictions in recent years.

Last year then-Gov. Matt Bevin, a Republican, signed a law allowing people to carry concealed weapons without a permit. This year the legislature has already passed a law requiring every school in the state to have an armed guard. Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear has said he is reviewing the legislation.

During his campaign last year, Beshear said he would support a “red flag” law, though no proposal has advanced in the legislature so far this year.

Dean Walker is a gun control advocate from Louisville who has lost two children to gun-related deaths. He says his son would still be alive today if Kentucky had a red flag law when he died of a self-inflicted gun wound.

“I would have gone to the police or to the court to petition for the removal of firearms from my son by law enforcement,” Walker said. “Nate was clearly in crisis.”

At least 17 states have red flag laws,including neighboring Indiana, which has had one on the books since 2005. In the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton last year, President Donald Trump signaled support for red flag laws.

A bipartisan group of lawmakers said they would file a red flag proposal last fall, but one has not been filed during this year’s legislative session. But a group of Republican lawmakers has already filed a resolution urging the legislature to oppose a red flag law.

Ryland Barton is the Managing Editor for Collaboratives. He's covered politics and state government for NPR member stations KWBU in Waco and KUT in Austin. He has a bachelor's degree from the University of Chicago and a master's degree in journalism from the University of Texas. He grew up in Lexington.

Email Ryland at
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