Colorado Gun Laws

Gun Laws in Colorado

The state of Colorado does not require that state citizens register for firearms. Actually Colorado prohibits, according to state law, the registration of firearms through state or local government. Colorado has also put into place the prohibiting of certain ordinances and regulations by the local government, effective as of March 18, 2003. This means that the local government does not have the authority to create any regulations or ordinances that prohibits the purchase, sale, or possession of any kind of firearm.

Colorado LawsAll regulations, laws, and ordinances proclaimed through the local government became void after this date. Also the local government is not allowed to have any list or record of those who have exchanged or purchased firearms, those who have had firearms repaired or for sale through consignment, those who have transferred firearms, or any descriptions of the firearms along with the exchange, transfer, purchase, or repair.

Colorado is bordered to the north by Wyoming, to the northeast by Nebraska, to the east by Kansas, to the south by Oklahoma and New Mexico, and to the west by Utah.

Legal Issues

In Colorado it is fully legal to sell a firearm to another person if that person is a private citizen and so is the seller. However if the seller has any knowledge of the ineligibility of the buyer to purchase the firearm, then the sale is deemed illegal. Selling ammunition is also a legal act when performed between two private citizens of Colorado. The state of Colorado does not require that handguns be registered, unlike some other states. It is also legal to carry a concealed weapon in a vehicle without acquiring a permit first, according to Colorado law 18-12-204. When an individual has legally gained possession of a handgun, he or she may carry the firearm without permit under varying circumstances.

The first of these circumstances is that the handgun can only be carried in a private vehicle–not a public vehicle, such as a bus or the subway–and must be for the use of self-defense or for the legal use in activities for hunting inside state lines. The second of these circumstances states that if the individual is found in handgun violation under Colorado law 18-12-105.5 or 18-12-105, he or she is no longer eligible to carry a handgun without a permit.

Handguns are also legal to be carried openly in a vehicle without prohibiting. However there are a few municipalities who do prohibit carrying open firearms in vehicles. Loaded firearms are not allowed in vehicles and recreational vehicles in Colorado, with the exceptions of revolvers and pistols. Often times muzzle-loaders are allowed to be loaded and carried in vehicles if they are not primed. All individuals carrying concealed weapons must have legal permits to do so, unless otherwise authorized.

Few individuals are authorized to carry concealed weapons without permits and can include reasons of private property protection deemed self-defense. Colorado law states that an individual may carry a firearm on a motorcycle under certain conditions, which includes individuals with concealed weapons permits and properly authorized individuals. Colorado also has limitations for private vehicles. The law states that law enforcement officials do not have the authorization to enforce an ordinance that would inhibit an individual’s travel while carrying a firearm in a private vehicle.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Colorado will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Colorado’s license:

“(1) A permit to carry a concealed handgun or a concealed weapon that is issued by a state that recognizes the validity of permits issued pursuant to this part 2 shall be valid in this state in all respects as a permit issued pursuant to this part 2 if the permit is issued to a person who is: (a) Twenty-one years of age or older; and (b)(I) A resident of the state that issued the permit, as demonstrated by the address stated on a valid picture identification that is issued by the state that issued the permit and is carried by the permit holder; or (II) A resident of Colorado for no more than ninety days, as determined by the date of issuance on a valid picture identification issued by Colorado and carried by the permit holder. (2) For purposes of this section, a “valid picture identification” means a driver’s license or a state identification issued in lieu of a driver’s license.”

Since there is no national carry license: some states are reciprocal with Colorado, some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Colorado State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur. Colorado’s most current reciprocity information may be referenced online.

Open Carry

Colorado allows the open carry of firearms without a permit, however local governments can restrict or ban open carry. The city of Denver does not allow open carry.

High Capacity Magazine Ban

Colorado bans the sale, transfer, and possession of magazines capable of holding more than fifteen (15) rounds. Internal tube/helical magazines for .22 firearms and internal tube/helical magazines for lever action guns are not considered high-capacity magazines, even if capable of holding more than 15 rounds. High-capacity magazines that were legally owned before 7/1/13 are grandfathered in and may be kept and used, but not sold or transferred.

Universal Background Checks

Colorado requires that all firearm sales, even between private parties, go through a FFL who must conduct a background check. For a private party transfer, You must get approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Transfers of antique firearms, bona-fide gifts or loans from immediate family members, and transfers to estate executors or trustees are exempt. Temporary transfers are strictly regulated.

Carrying Firearms in Vehicles

Colorado allows anyone who may legally own a firearm to carry a concealed firearm in an automobile or other form of private conveyance, even without a permit. If carrying a long gun, there cannot be a round in the chamber.

Carry in Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

Yes. There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Self-defense Laws

Colorado has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in a dwelling (it doesn’t have to be Your dwelling, as long as You have permission to be there), and You may use deadly force in self-defense against someone who unlawfully enters that dwelling if You reasonably believe the intruder has or is about to commit a crime in the dwelling in addition to unlawful entry, or the intruder intends to commit a crime against person or property in addition to unlawful entry, or that the intruder intends to use force (however slight) against an occupant of the dwelling.

Criminal Provisions

Under Colorado law, a license to carry a handgun does not permit carry in any of the following places or circumstances, no matter if it was issued by Colorado or if carry is pursuant to a reciprocity agreement with Colorado:

  • Failure to obtain a background check during the purchase of a firearm at a gun show commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished as provided in section 18-1.3-501, C.R.S. A gun show promoter shall arrange for the services of one or more licensed gun dealers on the premises of the gun show to obtain the background checks. If any part of a firearm transaction takes place at a gun show, no firearm shall be transferred unless a background check has been obtained by a licensed gun dealer
  • A place where carrying firearms is prohibited by federal law
  • A public building at which security personnel regularly screen for weapons upon entry
  • The property of a public elementary, middle, junior high or high school, unless it is the permittee’s vehicle. If the permittee is not inside the vehicle, the handgun must be in a compartment in the vehicle and the vehicle must be locked
  • Possession of firearm within Motor Vehicle: It is unlawful for any person, except a person authorized by law or by the division, to possess or have under his control any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded. Any person in possession or in control of a rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle shall allow any peace officer, as defined in section 33-1-102 (32), who is empowered and acting under the authority granted in section 33-6-101 to enforce articles 1 to 6 of this title to inspect the chamber of any rifle or shotgun in the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this section, a “muzzle-loader” shall be considered unloaded if it is not primed, and, for such purpose, “primed” means having a percussion cap on the nipple or flint in the striker and powder in the flash pan. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of fifty ($50.00) dollars and an assessment of fifteen license suspension points.

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