Kentucky City Lifts Obscure Cemetery Firearm Prohibition

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posted on December 30, 2016
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Commissioners in a central Kentucky city have approved an ordinance removing an obscure but decades-old prohibition of firearms in its cemeteries, including one that includes a small portion administered by the National Cemetery Administration.

Danville, a city of 16,000, serves as the county seat of Boyle County, located southwest of Lexington. In its regular December meeting, the city commission voted unanimously to remove an ordinance approved in 1983 that banned firearms on cemetery property.

City Attorney Stephen Dexter said the new ordinance was request by the Kentucky Concealed Carry Coalition, according to the Advocate-Messenger newspaper. 

The ordinance was in violation of Kentucky Revised Statute (KRS) 65.870 that prohibits home rule regarding state firearms laws and regulations.

“I was not aware that there was a general prohibition of guns in our cemeteries, which would be unlawful under the statutes, and since that was not enforced—that rule not posted or known, it was just brought to our attention,” Dexter said during the first reading of the ordinance in November.

The Commission’s Dec. 12 action also reversed a 2006 ordinance that restricted citation officers from carrying firearms, which also violated Kentucky law.

In 2006, there was an ordinance passed by the city commission that restricted citation officers from carrying deadly weapons. In order for a citation officer to carry a deadly weapon, Dexter said they would have to attend a training to be able to carry deadly weapons or make arrests.

KRS 65.870 reads, in part, that “no existing or future city … may occupy any part of the field of regulation of the manufacture, sale, purchase, taxation, transfer, ownership, possession, carrying, storage, or transportation of firearms, ammunition, component of firearms, components of ammunition, firearms accessories, or combination thereof.”

Under Veterans Administration (VA) regulations 38 CFR 1.218, Danville National Cemetery, located within Bellview Cemetery in Danville, continues to prohibit carrying of firearms (either openly or concealed), explosives or other dangerous or deadly weapons while on VA property, except for official purposes, such as military funeral honors.

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