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KC3 vs. City of Pikeville at the Ky. Supreme Court

gutshot II

Regular Member
Jul 1, 2017
Central Ky.
KC3's lawsuit against Pikeville is in the final stages. Pikeville has filed their appeal and KC3 has filed our answer. Now, all that can be done is for both sides to wait for the Ky. Supreme Court to render an opinion. It has occurred to me that many KC3 members, others that are friends of KC3 and many that have not heard about this important decision that is coming and that will shape Ky. gun laws for many years into the future. I decided it was time to give everyone a brief history of this case and how and why it came about.
KC3 does not just file lawsuits against anybody that we find in violation of state gun laws. We always contact the people involved and give them a chance to comply voluntarily. We don't threaten them with lawsuits, but we might mention that we have done that with other cities and counties. They usually comply. I don't know how many of these we have done. When asked that question, I usually say "dozens" but I am tempted to say "hundreds" but can't furnish any proof of that number, so just use what I can prove.
KC3 and the City of Pikeville have had several disagreements over the years. Before KRS 65.870 was amended in 2012, we filed suit against Pikeville for a violation of the concealed carry law. KRS 237.115 gives city and county governments the authority to prohibit concealed weapons in buildings that are owned or occupied by that government. There are a few exceptions to that. A city or county may not prohibit concealed weapons in highways rest stop buildings or buildings used for public housing. Pikeville prohibited concealed weapons in their public housing, but only in the non-residential portions such as entrance lobbies, hallways and laundry rooms. In other words, you could carry a concealed weapon in Pikeville's public housing but there was no way for you to come and go with that weapon. After months of talking with city officials, it became apparent that the only way Pikeville would ever comply with the law was if we filed a lawsuit. That lawsuit was filed and few months later, before the case was scheduled for a hearing, Pikeville approached us with a settlement offer. They agreed to change their ordinance and pay all of KC3's expenses. We agreed.

There is a 7,000 seat arena in Pikeville. This arena is city-owned and city-operated.
We found rules on the website of the arena that prohibited all weapons from the arena and pictures of the same rules on signs posted at the arena were sent to us. Directly across the street ifrom the arena is City Park and all weapons are prohibited from that park as well as a building in the park that is rented for social occasions. Guns are prohibited from that building and the lease agreement for the building contains a clause where to lessee agrees to prohibit guns during the term their rental. On the other side of town is another city-owned park, Amos Park. Guns are also prohibited from that park and from an adjacent firefighting school and an RV park. The RV park has rules that prohibit all firearms from any vehicle in the park. Once again we talked to the city official before we acted. This was a new batch of city officials, but the same "no guns allowed" mentality. After a year of discussions, we filed our lawsuit in Pike Circuit Court in 2018. Not much happen for a long time. I know our attorney made at least two trips to Pikeville. We had very low expectations for success with our lawsuit in Pike Circuit Court. Our suit named the Mayor of Pikeville, all the City Commissioners and Arena officials as defendants. The Judge who had been selected to hear the case was a former Mayor of Pikeville and he dismissed our claims and awarded Summary Judgement in Pikeville's favor. In other words: we lost, without ever a word of testimony. We immediately appealed to the Ky. Court of Appeals. We were now in the middle of the Covid 19 Pandemic. The Courts were closed. In the beginning, only criminal cases were being heard. Finally, they started hearing cases with "Zoom" connections. Our case was heard and we won with a unanimous opinion and the ruling from Pike Circuit was reversed. Of course, we were very happy. KC3 had been totally vindicated. All of our assumptions about the law were realized.
Unfortunately, Pikeville refused to accept the verdict of the Court of Appeals and appealed to the Ky. Supreme Court. That appeal is very strange in that it seems to rely on only one law. There is no mention of any of the state laws involved in the case. The arena is not mentioned. Nothing about the parks or RV Center. Nothing about the Firefighting School. It appears that Pikeville has decided to put all its eggs in one basket. The only claim from Pikeville is that all of these places are within 1000 ft. of school property and the Federal Gun Free School Zone Act prohibits firearms in all of them. They make no mention of the fact that the GFSZA has several exceptions. One of those exceptions is that the law "does not apply" to persons with a valid concealed carry license issued by the state where the school is located. I find it hard to believe that the Ky. Supreme Court is going to disregard the "black letter law" in a federal statute and overturn the meaning completely. Time will tell, but I sleep well at night.