Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin’s opposition to gun control legislation in the state’s largest cities isn’t shaking the stance of Louisville’s top cop.
Chief Steve Conrad is a staunch supporter of legislation that could help reduce violent crime by keeping guns away from violent people.
That support remains, he said Wednesday, despite comments from Bevin earlier this week in which he scoffed at the need for “more government” to address surging gun violence in Kentucky cities like Louisville.
“People who want to pretend that it’s something that can be legislated … are delusional,” he said during a press event Tuesday.
Conrad sees otherwise.
“I think it’s at least worth the conversation,” he said during an interview Wednesday morning.
Conrad agreed, in part, with Bevin that solving gun violence will take a multifaceted approach. Mayor Greg Fischer, who also supports giving cities the ability to enact their own gun laws, said the same on Tuesday.
“As a community, we need to work together to look at it hard, to soul search,” Conrad said.
The police chief said he supports the Second Amendment. “Obviously, I mean, I carry a gun for a living,” he said.
But, he added, legislation that could bring stricter penalties for felons found with guns, for instance, could be helpful.
“More so than what we’re doing already,” he said. “Having guns in the hand of people who are prohibited, by law, is problematic.”
Gun violence is plaguing Louisville this year like few before. Homicide tallies have reached a record high and reported shootings are up nearly 40 percent, according to police data.
Conrad and Fischer have long called for legislation that would enable cities to enact local gun laws outside state law. State law prevents that. Local governments across Kentucky are currently barred from adopting any type of law regulating guns or gun accessories. Kentucky state lawmakers passed a bill prohibiting such laws in 2012.
Some state legislators want to change that. But there’s little hope in a Republican controlled legislature.
In an interview Tuesday evening, Fischer said reducing crime takes a “comprehensive approach,” which can include new gun control legislation.
Conrad called gun violence a complicated issue.
“I think for complex problem like this it’s important we come at from multiple directions,” he said.