Politics

A coalition of state lawmakers from Louisville is backing a bill that would give officials in Kentucky’s largest city the power to enact local gun control laws.

The push comes as the city reels from a record number of criminal homicides.

House Bill 101 would allow consolidated local governments to regulate firearms and ammunition to reduce gun violence. The bill was filed by Democratic state Rep. Daryl Owens of Louisville and is co-sponsored by five other Democrats, including former Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott.

If approved, the bill would only apply to Louisville.

Current state law prevents local entities from enacting gun control measures. Similar bills have been filed in past legislative sessions but have gained little support from rural lawmakers.

Owens told The Courier-Journal that the bill is necessary. As evidence, he pointed to the record number of homicides reported by Louisville Metro police last year. There was also a nearly 40 percent increase in shooting incidents in the city during 2016.

Some Metro Council members, along with Mayor Greg Fischer and police chief Steve Conrad, have been calling for such legislation.

 

Jacob Ryan is a reporter for the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.