Colorado

Updated as of Tuesday, April 23, 2013.

STATE CONSTITUTIONAL PROVISION

“The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”

Article II, Section 13.

Important/Relevant Gun Laws

RIFLES AND SHOTGUNSHANDGUNS
Permit to PurchaseNoNo
Registration of FirearmsNoNo
Licensing of OwnersNoNo
Permit to CarryNoYes*

*Permit to Carry Concealed.

The list and map below are included as a tool to assist you in validating your information.  We have made every effort to report the information correctly, however reciprocity and recognition agreements are subject to frequent change.  The information is not intended as legal advice or a restatement of law and does not include:  restrictions that may be placed on non-resident permits, individuals under the age of 21, qualifying permit classes, and/or any other factor which may limit reciprocity and/or recognition.  For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation.  YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

Reciprocity

  • These states recognize Colorado permits:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
  • Colorado recognizes permits from:
  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

Map of states recognizing Colorado permits:

A synopsis of Colorado state laws on purchase, possession and carrying of firearms.

PURCHASE

Effective March 20, 2013, Colorado residents will pay a $10 fee for the transfer of a firearm.  There is no state permit required for the purchase of any rifle, shotgun or handgun. 

Dealers are required to keep a record on the retail sale, rental, or exchange of  handguns.  The record shall include the name of the person to whom the handgun is transferred, his or her age, occupation, and residence, and the make, caliber, finish and serial number of the handgun, and the date of the transfer and name of employee making the transfer.  The record book shall be open at all times to the inspection of any duly authorized police officer.

Effective July 1, 2013, universal background checks are required of all private sales.  Before a gun show vendor transfers or attempts to transfer a firearm at a gun show, he or she shall require that a background check, in accordance with the national instant criminal background check system, be conducted of the prospective transferee, and obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation through a licensed gun dealer.  It is also unlawful to transfer a firearm if any part of the transaction takes place at a gun show, unless a licensed dealer first obtains a background check on the prospective transferee. This does not apply to firearms defined as antiques, curios or relics under federal law.

A Colorado resident who is otherwise qualified can purchase or receive delivery of a rifle or shotgun in a state contiguous to Colorado, so long as the sale fully complies with the legal conditions of sale in both states and the purchaser and seller have complied with federal law applicable to interstate transactions.

POSSESSION

On and after July 1, 2013, it will be unlawful to possess, sell or transfer a "large capacity magazine." The definition of a "large capacity magazine" includes those magazines or any devices that are fixed, or detachable and can hold more than 15 rounds or be readily converted to hold more than fifteen rounds.  READ ALL

A shotgun may not accept more than eight shotgun shells, or hold more than twenty-eight inches of shotgun shells in an extension device.  A .22 caliber rimfire rifle that can hold more than 15 rounds in a fixed tubular magazine is not included as a "large capacity magazine." 

It is unlawful for any person convicted of a felony or conspiracy or attempt to commit a felony, or misdemeanor domestic violence or adjudicated delinquent for a felony to possess a firearm. 

It is unlawful for any person under 18 to possess a handgun, and it is unlawful to provide or permit a juvenile to possess a handgun, with exceptions for attendance at a hunter's safety course or firearms safety course, or engaging in lawful target shooting, or hunting or trapping with a valid license, or traveling with an unloaded handgun to or from any of these activities, or while on real property under the control of the juvenile's parent, legal guardian or grandparent and who has the permission of the parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun, or while at the juvenile's residence and with permission of parent or legal guardian possesses a handgun for self-defense.

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CARRYING

It is unlawful to carry a firearm concealed on or about one's person without a permit, except for a person in his or her own dwelling, place of business, or on property owned or controlled by him or her. READ ALL

A permit is not required to carry a handgun where carrying firearms is legal, if the handgun is not concealed.  A handgun is not considered concealed if it is in the possession of a person who is in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance who is carrying it for a legal use, or the handgun is in the possession of a person who is legally engaged in hunting activities within the state.  Exempt from the requirement of a permit to carry a concealed handgun are peace officers of Colorado, U.S. probation officers, law enforcement officers employed by jurisdiction outside the state, so long as the employing jurisdiction exempts peace officers employed by jurisdictions within Colorado from any concealed weapons laws in effect in those jurisdictions; as well as a retired peace officer, meeting prescribed criteria.

A sheriff shall issue a permit to carry a concealed handgun to an applicant who is a legal resident of the state; is at least twenty-one; is not ineligible to possess a firearm, has not been convicted of perjury in relation to an application for a concealed weapon permit; does not chronically and habitually abuse alcohol; is not an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance as provided in federal law and regulations; is not subject to a restraining order in effect at the time the application is submitted, or a permanent restraining order, or a temporary restraining order in effect at the time the application is submitted; and demonstrates competency with a firearm. 

However, the Sheriff can deny the permit if he reasonably believes that documented previous behavior by the applicant makes it likely that the applicant will present a danger to self or others if the permit is issued. The sheriff shall suspend a permit following issuance if he has a reasonable belief that the permittee no longer meets the criteria above, until the matter is resolved and the Sheriff determines that the permittee is eligible to possess the permit.  There is an appeals process and judicial review of a denial or revocation.

The permit is valid for five years and may be renewed.  It is effective in all areas of the state except where it is not lawful to possess any firearm.  A peace officer may temporarily disarm a permittee incident to a lawful stop of the permittee.  The permit does not authorize the permittee to carry a concealed handgun into a place where carrying firearms is prohibited by federal law; or into a public building at which security personnel regularly screen for weapons upon entry; or onto real property of a public school except that the permittee may have the handgun in his or her vehicle.  If the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun must be in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle locked.

A permittee employed by a school district as a security officer may carry a concealed handgun onto the real property of a public school while on duty.  A permittee may carry a concealed handgun on undeveloped real property owned by a school district that is used for hunting or other shooting sports. 

A Sheriff may issue a temporary emergency permit to carry a concealed handgun to a person whom the Sheriff has reason to believe may be in immediate danger.  Temporary permittees must meet all the requirements of regular permittees except demonstrating competence with a handgun and must only be at least eighteen years of age.  The permit is valid for 90 days and may be renewed once. 

At all times during which the permittee is in possession of a concealed handgun, he or she must carry the permit and a valid photo ID.  The Sheriff shall maintain a list of persons to whom permits are issued, and upon request by another criminal justice agency for law enforcement purposes, the Sheriff may share information from the list for the purpose of determining the validity of a permit.  A Sheriff shall not share information from the list of permittees with a law enforcement agency for the purpose of creating a statewide database of permittees on or after July 1, 2007. 

A permit to carry a concealed handgun or weapon issued to a person twenty-one or older by a state that recognizes the validity of permits issued under Colorado law shall be valid in Colorado in all the same respects as Colorado permits.  A permit issued under the concealed carry law as it existed prior to May 18, 2003, shall permanently expire on June 30, 2007, or the expiration date on the permit, whichever occurs first.  If that permit application included fingerprinting and background check, the permittee may apply for renewal, but otherwise must apply for a new permit. 

It is unlawful to have a firearm other than a handgun in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber is unloaded.  Firearms in a snowmobile must be unloaded and cased or inserted in a scabbard.   It is unlawful to carry or possess a firearm without legal authority on the property of, or within any building in which the chambers, galleries, or offices of the general assembly are located, or in which a legislative hearing or meeting is being or is to be conducted, or in which the official offices of any member, officer, or employee of the general assembly are located.  It is unlawful to possess, without legal authority, a firearm in or on the real estate of any school, college, university, or seminary, with some exceptions.

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MACHINE GUNS

A machine gun is defined as any firearm that shoots automatically more than one shot, without manual reloading, by a single function of the trigger.  It is unlawful to possess a machine gun, but it is an affirmative defense to a charge of possession if the person accused was a peace officer or member of the armed forces acting in the lawful discharge of his or her duties, or that the person has a valid permit and license for possession of a machine gun.

ANTIQUES AND REPLICAS

State law is silent on this matter. They are treated as ordinary firearms for possession and carrying purposes.

Preemption

No local governing entity shall prohibit travel with a weapon for hunting or lawful protection of a person or property. READ ALL

§ 29-11.7-101. Legislative declaration

(2) Based on the findings specified in subsection (1) of this section, the general assembly concludes that:

(a) The regulation of firearms is a matter of statewide concern;

(b) It is necessary to provide statewide laws concerning the possession and ownership of a firearm to ensure that law-abiding persons are not unfairly placed in the position of unknowingly committing crimes involving firearms.

§ 18-12-105.6. Limitation on local ordinances regarding firearms in private vehicles

(2)(a) Based on the findings specified in subsection (1) of this section, the general assembly concludes that the carrying of weapons in private automobiles or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of a person's or another's person or property while traveling into, through, or within, a municipal, county, or city and county jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in a jurisdiction, is a matter of statewide concern and is not an offense.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no municipality, county, or city and county shall have the authority to enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution that would restrict a person's ability to travel with a weapon in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of a person's or another's person or property while traveling into, through, or within, a municipal, county, or city and county jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in a jurisdiction.

§ 29-11.7-104. Regulation--carrying--posting

A local government may enact an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area within the local government's jurisdiction. If a local government enacts an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area, the local government shall post signs at the public entrances to the building or specific area informing persons that the open carrying of firearms is prohibited in the building or specific area.

(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no municipality, county, or city and county shall have the authority to enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution that would restrict a person's ability to travel with a weapon in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of a person's or another's person or property while traveling into, through, or within, a municipal, county, or city and county jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in a jurisdiction.

The Colorado Supreme Court held that state laws that expressly preempted firearms regulation unconsitutionally infringed on Denver's home rule authority with respect to ordinance that address the open carrying of firearms and banning assault weapons and Saturday night specials.  State v. City and County of Denver, 139 P.3d 635 (Colo. 2006).

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Range Protection

Shooting ranges are protected against a civil action or criminal penalty alleging noise if the range is operating as it normally would. READ ALL

 § 25-12-109. Exception--sport shooting ranges--legislative declaration--definitions

(1) The general assembly hereby finds, determines, and declares that the imposition of inconsistent, outdated, and unnecessary noise restrictions on qualifying sport shooting ranges that meet specific, designated qualifications work to the detriment of the public health, welfare, and morale as well as to the detriment of the economic well-being of the state. The general assembly further finds, determines, and declares that a need exists for statewide uniformity with respect to exempting qualifying shooting ranges from the enforcement of laws, ordinances, rules, and orders regulating noise. As the gain associated with having a uniform statewide exemption for qualifying sport shooting ranges outweighs any gains associated with enforcing noise regulations against such ranges, the general assembly further declares that the provisions of this section, as enacted, are a matter of statewide concern and preempt any provisions of any law, ordinance, rule, or order to the contrary.

(2) As used in this section, unless the context otherwise requires:

(a) “Local government” means any county, city, city and county, town, or any governmental entity, board, council, or committee operating under the authority of any county, city, city and county, or town.

(b) “Local government official” means any elected, appointed, or employed individual or group of individuals acting on behalf of or exercising the authority of any local government.

(c) “Person” means an individual, proprietorship, partnership, corporation, club, or other legal entity.

(d) “Qualifying sport shooting range” or “qualifying range” means any public or private establishment, whether operating for profit or not for profit, that operates an area for the discharge or other use of firearms or other equipment for silhouette, skeet, trap, black powder, target, self-defense, recreational or competitive shooting, or professional training.

(3) Notwithstanding any other law or municipal or county ordinance, rule, or order regulating noise to the contrary:

(a) A local governmental official may not commence a civil action nor seek a criminal penalty against a qualifying sport shooting range or its owners or operators on the grounds of noise emanating from such range that results from the normal operation or use of the qualifying shooting range except upon a written complaint from a resident of the jurisdiction in which the range is located. The complaint shall state the name and address of the complainant, how long the complainant has resided at the address indicated, the times and dates on which the alleged excessive noise occurred, and such other information as the local government may require. The local government shall not proceed to seek a criminal penalty or pursue a civil action against a qualifying sport shooting range on the basis of such a noise complaint if the complainant established residence within the jurisdiction after January 1, 1985.

(b) No person may bring any suit in law or equity or any other claim for relief against a qualifying sport shooting range located in the vicinity of the person's property or against the owners or operators of such range on the grounds of noise emanating from the range if:

(I) The qualifying range was established before the person acquired the property;

(II) The qualifying range complies with all laws, ordinances, rules, or orders regulating noise that applied to the range and its operation at the time of its construction or initial operation;

(III) No law, ordinance, rule, or order regulating noise applied to the qualifying range at the time of its construction or initial operation.

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MISCELLANEOUS

It is unlawful to possess a firearm while under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances. It is unlawful to discharge a firearm from any aircraft or motor vehicle. It is unlawful for a person to knowingly and unlawfully possess a firearm if the manufacturer's serial number or other distinguishing number or identification mark, has been removed. READ ALL

It is unlawful to possess a rifle with a barrel under 16 inches and an overall length under 26 inches or a shotgun with a barrel under 18 inches and an overall length under 26 inches, but it is an affirmative defense to a charge of possession if the person accused was a peace officer acting in the lawful discharge of his or her duties, or the person has a valid permit and license for its possession.

Local governments are prohibited from maintaining a list or other record or database of persons who purchase or exchange firearm or leave them for repair or sale on consignment, and persons who transfer firearms unless they are federally licensed firearms dealers; or of the descriptions, including serial numbers, of such firearms.  Local governments may not enact any ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the sale, purchase, or possession of a firearm that a person may lawfully sell, purchase, or possess under state or federal law.  Local governments may prohibit the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area within the local government„s jurisdiction if they post signs at the public entrances to the building or area informing persons that open carrying is prohibited. 

A person or public entity may not bring an action, other than a product liability action, against a firearms manufacturer, importer, or dealer for any remedy arising from physical or emotional injury, physical damage, or death caused by the discharge of a firearm or ammunition.  In no type of action shall a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, importer, or dealer be held liable as a third party for the action of another person.

In a product liability action, the actual discharge of a firearm or ammunition shall be the proximate cause of injury, damage or death resulting from the use of such product and not the inherent capability of the product to cause such injury, damage or death.  The manufacturer's, importer's, or distributor's placement of a firearm or ammunition in the stream of commerce shall not be deemed sufficient to constitute the proximate cause of injury resulting from a third party's use of a product.

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SOURCES: Col.Rev.Stat. 12-26-101 et seq.,12-26.1-101 et seq., 12-27-101; 18-1-704 et seq., 13-21-504 and 13-21-504.5, 18- 9-106, 18-12-101 et seq., 18-12-201 et. seq., 24-20-201 et seq., 24-23.5-424, 30-10-523, 33-6-125, 33-14-117.

CAUTION: Firearm laws are subject to frequent change and court interpretation. This summary is not intended as legal advice or restatement of law. This summary does not include federal or local laws, ordinances or regulations. For any particular situation, a licensed local attorney must be consulted for an accurate interpretation. YOU MUST ABIDE WITH ALL LAWS: STATE, FEDERAL AND LOCAL.

This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.