Kentucky Law

Kentucky Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase and Possession Prohibitions

Kentucky does not prohibit purchase or possession of firearms for persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence.

Kentucky does not prohibit purchase or possession of firearms for persons subject to domestic violence protective orders.

Kentucky suspends the license to carry a concealed deadly weapon of persons subject to a domestic violence order or emergency protective order.1 The license remains suspended until the termination of the order or “until the judge who issued the order terminates the suspension prior to the termination of the underlying domestic violence order or emergency protective order[.]”2


Civil Domestic Violence Protective Orders that Require Removal

Kentucky does not require removal of firearms or ammunition from subjects of domestic violence orders or emergency protective orders. Kentucky does require an individual subject to a domestic violence order or emergency protective order to surrender his or her licensed to carry a concealed deadly weapon to the court or to the officer that served the order.3

Additionally, a court issuing an emergency protective order or a domestic violence order may direct or prohibit “any other actions that the court believes will be of assistance in eliminating future acts of domestic violence and abuse[.]”4 Such other action may include an order not to possess firearms and an order to relinquish firearms.5

Individuals Who May Petition for a Protective Order

A victim of domestic violence and abuse may petition for an emergency protective order or domestic violence order or any adult may petition on behalf of a victim who is a minor.6

“Domestic violence and abuse” is defined as “physical injury, serious physical injury, stalking, sexual abuse, assault, or the infliction of fear of imminent physical injury, serious physical injury, sexual abuse, or assault between family members or members of an unmarried couple.”7

“Family member” is defined to include:

  1. Spouses;
  2. Former spouses;
  3. Grandparents;
  4. Grandchildren;
  5. Parents;
  6. Children;
  7. Stepchildren;
  8. Any person living in the same household as a child, if the child is the alleged victim.8

“Member of an unmarried couple” is defined to include:

  1. Persons allegedly with a child in common;
  2. Children of unmarried parents; and
  3. A member of an unmarried couple who currently live together or formerly lived together.9

Criminal History Search

The court may obtain the respondent’s Kentucky criminal and protective order history prior to or at a hearing on a petition for a protective order and use the information to determine what relief and which sanctions may protect the petitioner or other person for whom protection is being sought.10

Penalties for Violation

A violation of an order of protection, after the person has been served or given notice of the order, shall constitute contempt of court and a criminal offense punishable as a Class A misdemeanor.11

Notice of Attempt to Purchase

The Justice and Public Safety Cabinet, upon receipt of notice that a person prohibited from purchasing a firearm under 18 U.S.C. 922(g)(8) has purchased or attempted to purchase a firearm, shall make a reasonable effort to notify the petitioner who obtained the domestic violence order if the petitioner has requested such notification.12

Persons carrying out responsibilities related to such notification are immunized from civil liability for good faith conduct in carrying out such responsibilities.13

This page was updated May 24, 2021. Please note that data used are the most recent available data.