Buying Ammo and Guns in Kentucky

This piece discusses the ammunition and firearms laws in the state of Kentucky. To do so, the piece starts off with the ammunition laws, aimed at understanding the process necessary to have ammunition shipped to a residential address in KY. From there, the piece discusses Kentucky’s firearms laws in terms of both the firearms buying process and the legalities of carrying a firearm in the state. Having done that, the piece concludes with some tax information and resources that we think you would find useful for buying guns and ammo in the state, as well as finding places to shoot.

Nothing in this piece is intended as legal advice. Instead, we hope that this can serve as the basis for some knowledge so that you can make your own informed decisions.

Like many states, Kentucky has preemption. This means that the state has declared that no smaller political subunits, such as cities and counties, can make gun or ammo laws that are more restrictive than those at the state level. For the average gun owner, this simplifies life in that once you understand one set of ammunition and firearms laws, that understanding applies to the state as a whole.

Overall, Kentucky has some of the most permissive firearm and ammunition laws in the country, which means that many of the relevant rules and regulations come from the Federal level. The state does not impose bans on ammunition, assault weapons, or NFA items. It’s also possible to have ammo shipped to a home address in Kentucky. In effect, the state lets the federal government regulate firearms within the state but does not impose many restrictions of its own beyond those federal restrictions.

Ammo Laws/Buying Ammo in Kentucky 

First, we will cover the ammo laws of the state.

Kentucky’s ammunition laws are highly permissive. There are no state-level bans on specific kinds of ammunition. Thus, the laws governing the purchasing of ammo in the state are the federal requirements set by the ATF.

To purchase ammunition in Kentucky, two federal requirements must be met. The first is an age requirement: people have to be eighteen years of age or older to purchase ammo for rifles or shotguns, and twenty-one to buy handgun ammunition.

Second, an ammunition buyer cannot be a prohibited person. The ATF defines prohibited persons, generally, as people who have been convicted of felonies or domestic violence, those who have been ruled as mentally unfit in court, or people who have been involuntarily committed to inpatient mental health treatment.

Assuming both of those requirements have been met, there are no state laws that prevent people from having ammunition shipped to a residential address in Kentucky. Keep in mind, though, that carriers can impose their own rules. For example, it is not uncommon for a carrier to ask for an adult with a valid ID to be present in order to sign for a package that contains ammunition.

Once the buyer has the ammunition, Kentucky does not ban any type of magazines: thus, people can use the standard capacity magazines that were intended for their firearms. 

Gun Laws/Buying Guns in Kentucky 

Next, we will do the same exercise for Kentucky’s gun laws.

Kentucky’s gun laws are similarly permissive when compared to its ammunition laws. There are no assault weapons bans in the state, either by specifically naming banned firearms or by coming up with a list of banned features. NFA items are also allowed in the state.

Because of this lack of bans, the gun-buying process in the state follows federal guidelines. Assuming the age and prohibited person requirements are met, a buyer needs only to take a form of payment and valid ID to a gun store.

From there, the FFL will ask the buyer to fill out Form 4473 from the ATF to complete a background check. Once that check is complete, the buyer can leave with their firearms the same day, assuming the payment method also clears.

Kentucky does not require that private sellers do a background check when selling a gun to a private party. However, it is always advisable to ensure that the buyer is old enough, and is not a prohibited person.

Carrying firearms in Kentucky is also permissive. The state allows for both open carry and concealed carry without a permit. Like most states that offer permitless carry, Kentucky continues to offer concealed carry permits for its residents.

Since the state of Kentucky does not require a permit to carry a firearm in public, whether openly or concealed, the main reason to get a concealed permit in Kentucky is to be able to carry in states that both require a permit and recognize Kentucky’s permit as valid. The Kentucky permit is fairly widely accepted by other states.

Like all other states, Kentucky has a list of places where it is forbidden to carry a firearm at all. In Kentucky, this list includes:

  • Police stations or sheriff’s offices

  • Correctional facilities 

  • Courthouses 

  • Legislative meetings

  • Bars

  • K-12 schools unless the school has a policy that allows firearms

  • Child care facilities

  • Airport terminals

  • Federal property

This list is not an unusual one, and even the most permissive states have nearly the same list of places where they do not allow for firearms to be carried. One thing to note in all states: your local Post Office is federal property and you cannot generally carry a firearm there. This is worth noting since many Post Offices do not make this abundantly clear with signage at the door, and breaking federal firearms law can have serious consequences.

Kentucky is also home to Anderson Manufacturing, which makes high-end AR-type firearms in various form factors and calibers.

All things considered, Kentucky’s firearms and ammunition laws are some of the most permissive in the country. Permitless carry and a lack of bans make it relatively easy to be a legal gun owner in the state, and most of the regulations in the state come from the federal level. The state also does not impose waiting periods or bans on firearms of any kind, including NFA items.   It is entirely possible to have ammunition shipped to a home address in the state as well, making it possible for folks to shop around for the best selection and prices. This makes it as easy as it can be to be a firearms owner in Kentucky. 

Sales Tax on Guns/Ammo in Kentucky

The general sales tax rate in Kentucky is 6%, and localities do not put their own taxes on top of that sales tax. Thus, shopping around for FFLs based on taxes in the state will not help.

Kentucky does not add any special or additional taxes on firearms and ammunition. 

More Resources:

  • The ATF maintains a list of all FFLs in the country, including in Kentucky. This list is kept up to date and can be used to find gun stores. Generally, gun stores are Type One or Type Two FFLs.

  • is a great resource: if you mess with the mile and city/zip code features, it can be used to find any available ranges in your area. Users add more ranges often, and the information is frequently fact-checked. 

  • There are a number of well-rated gun stores in the state for all of your firearm needs. 

  • The Kentucky Hunting Forums are active, and provide local events and information that are broader than the hunting community, making it a good general resource.

Kentucky Gun Law FAQ:

Yes. Kentucky state law is fine with having ammunition shipped to a residential address. As long as the buyer is old enough (21 for handgun ammo and 18 for long gun ammo) and is not a prohibited person, the state is fine with it. But, carriers might also ask for an adult to be present to sign for the package. 

Kentucky allows for both open carry and concealed carry without a permit. The state does, however, offer a permit mainly for those who want to concealed carry out of the state. 

Nope! The state of Kentucky is one of the most permissive in the country in terms of its firearm laws. The state does not have an assault weapons or magazine ban of any kind. 

Generally, no. The state allows people who are otherwise allowed to own a firearm to carry that firearm in public. There are some places where carry is not allowed at all, however. The state also offers a concealed carry permit on a shall-issue basis. 

Kentucky does not impose additional waiting periods to buy firearms within the state. All that is required is for the buyer to pass a background check if buying at an FFL: any delays in the 4473 process are not from any additional waiting periods imposed by Kentucky.