Kentucky GOP Voters Favor Gun Removal Measure, Senate Assured by Westerfield

Kentucky GOP Voters Favor Gun Removal Measure, Senate Assured by Westerfield

On Friday night, state Senate colleagues were given access to polling results by Sen. Whitney Westerfield.

Sen. Whitney Westerfield reassured his colleagues that “the politics… are safe” to support a bill that would temporarily take away firearms from Kentuckians who pose a risk of killing themselves or others during what he suggested would be his final speech on the Senate floor.

During his speech on Friday night, Westerfield noted polls that indicated 76% of Republican primary voters believed that politicians in Kentucky should try to stop gun violence, including keeping those who are experiencing mental health crises from hurting themselves or other people.

In January, 600 Republican primary voters in Kentucky were polled over the phone by UpONE Insights.

This session, Westerfield attempted to sponsor a bill called Crisis Aversion and Rights Retention, or CARR, which would have established a legal procedure for temporarily disarming an individual who poses a risk of killing themselves or others. However, the bill was not successful.

Read Also: Controversial Bill Allowing Police to Seize Guns from Individuals in Crisis Hits Roadblock in Kentucky Legislature

According to the survey, 72% of GOP primary voters are in favor of establishing such a procedure. Among “very conservative” voters and Trump supporters, that percentage drops to 67% and 66%, respectively.

Based on the UpONE survey, 71% of respondents who self-identified as supporters of the Nation Rifle Association (NRA) in Kentucky supported CARR.

Westerfield claimed that his bill would have made it ” harder to have guns removed … then it is to be involuntarily committed … to have your entire person detained against your will in a mental health facility.”

According to his CARR bill:

  • A person must need and request help from law enforcement before they can be allowed to enter their home or any other “inside premises” to retrieve their firearms.
  • The respondent must receive a receipt from the police specifying the guns that were taken.
  • Guns are prohibited for the respondent to purchase or possess while the CARR order is in force.
  • The respondent must be informed by the court that they are not facing criminal charges and that they are entitled to a rebuttal.

Although Westerfield is not seeking reelection, he urged senators to review the legislation in the future and focus on finding answers to the state’s “crisis of gun violence.” The last day of this year’s regular session is Monday.

The survey findings were made public on Friday by the nonprofit organization Whitney Strong, which supports changes to the gun laws.

Kentucky Republican primary voters were surveyed in January.