Kentucky Gun Laws: Do they protect us?

By: Courtney Lassiter Email
By: Courtney Lassiter Email

How did someone as unstable as The Virginia Tech killer get a gun?

Disturbing details are emerging about Seung Hui Cho, the gunman who opened fire at Virginia Tech on April 16, 2007. He's described as a quiet, sullen figure who never made eye contact and made even his professors uncomfortable.

Investigators said Cho purchased a 9mm handgun last month and a 22 caliber gun within the past week.

How easy is it to get a gun? Kentucky and Virginia have similar requirements. To get a gun you have to buy one and you can't do that without the credentials.

"You have to be a Kentucky resident for six months, (have a) Kentucky drivers license, (be a) minimum age of 21 for handguns and a clean record clear of felonies or misdemeanors," said Chad Cassity, the owner of The Gun Vault, as he took WBKO through the first steps of buying a gun.

It took less than five minutes to fill out the paperwork, run an FBI background check and get cleared.

"If it's proceed, you buy your gun and go out the door," Cassity said. You could be cleared, delayed or you may be denied either by the background check or the seller.

"If you come in here and we just don't get a good feeling, story doesn't jive, it feels suspicious, we have the right to say 'I'm sorry, we can't sell it to you,'" Cassity said.

Lately Allen Arnold, a Gun Vault employee, said they have to be on the lookout for suspicious buyers. Arnold said he's sold more guns in the days following Virginia Tech's shootings than he has in weeks.

"We've sold three to four rifles and four to five handguns. Everyone talked about Virginia - obviously that's what was going through their head when they buy them," Arnold said.

He said one customer in particular caught his eye. She told Arnold she was looking for an AK-47.

"Out of my curiosity I asked her if she could point to an AK-47 on the wall. She couldn't. So I refused her sale," Arnold said.

Under Kentucky's gun law sellers have the right to understand their customers' motives for buying a gun, and they can refuse a sell, but most of the time it doesn't stop everyone from buying.

The Gun Vault said during a national tragedy like September 11 and more recently the Virginia Tech shootings, gun sales tend to go up. They explain the trend as a safety measure people take to protect themselves from what's happening around them.

Do our state's gun laws make you feel safer or more at risk? Take a look at Virginia's gun laws and compare them to Kentucky's.

Some feel Kentucky's gun laws are unacceptable and oppose the state's lax regulations. Visit the bradycampaign.com to find views expressed by those against the state's current laws.

On the other hand, the NRA feels they have the right to self-defense by protecting themselves with firearms. To view their side of things, visit their website at nraila.org/ or click here to find a more in depth description of Kentucky's gun laws.


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