Legislative session starts with rally for gun rights in Frankfort

Posted at 6:54 PM, Jan 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 09:04:33-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Hundreds of gun rights supporters carrying flags and signs greeted lawmakers as they entered the Capitol to begin the 2020 legislative session on Tuesday.

The supporters brought their message to lawmakers and it was simple: no new gun laws.

Organizers of Kentucky United said they are going after certain pre-filed bills and targeted one concerning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines.

They are particularly targeting any discussion of Red Flag Laws.

"Red flag laws... we just completely don't agree with," said Rep. Savannah Maddux. "I mean, you don't have any due process. I mean, anybody can come out and say that you've threatened them or done something and they can come out and seize your weapon without your due process."

Shumaker and Jay Fowler are two members of Kentucky United, which is a gun rights group that launched a month ago.

Fowler said that this was in response to Virginia's legislative body flipping blue and gun control bills being proposed.

"We're not Virginia," Fowler said. "Kentucky is Kentucky and we want to keep our Second Amendment rights."

So as lawmakers return to Frankfort, one of the pre-filed bills being protested was House Bill 354 , which was filed by Rep. Jeff Donohue.

"It dealt with the magazines," said Donohue. "Some of the concerns with the weapons owners, the magazines right now, they said the way the law was written, it would make their magazines illegal."

Donohue said he listened to his constituents and is actually going to pull it and file House Bill 192, which changes the language of the first bill.

"So, we get back in and said any magazines that you currently own, or any at all, AR-15's, whatever you own," said Donohue. "One or 100, you keep them. But if this legislation becomes law after that, you'd have to register your guns."

Donohue said this bill is not about taking people's guns and he actually doesn't believe the bill would pass.

What he is hoping to do is start a conversation toward mental health and school safety.

Donohue said his motivation behind the bill is the Marshall County school shooting that happened almost two years ago. But, even though he is pulling House Bill 354, and filing House Bill 191, he does not expect the bill to become law.

"That bill is not going to go anywhere, in my personal opinion, 191. Me: so why submit it? Donohue: I submitted it for the simple reason that we need to have the conversation about mental health and about SRO's. Because the fact of the matter is, if I hadn't filed that bill, we wouldn't be having this conversation right now," said Donohue.