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What Are the Gun Laws in Colorado?

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Caution: This summary is meant for general purposes only. Firearm laws frequently change and the following answers may not reflect changes in the laws.

State Requirements

Rifles and Shotguns
  • Permit to purchase rifles and shotguns? No
  • Registration of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of rifles and shotguns? No
  • Permit to carry rifles and shotguns? No

Handguns

  • Permit to purchase handgun? No
  • Registration of handguns? No
  • Licensing of owners of handguns? No
  • Permit to carry handguns? Yes (concealed)

Purchase:


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.

Before a gun show vendor transfers or attempts to transfer a firearm, 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:


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. Exceptions include:

  • Attendance at a hunter’s safety course or firearms safety course.

  • Engaging in lawful target shooting, hunting or trapping with a valid license.

  • Traveling with an unloaded handgun to or from any of these activities.
  • 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.

Carrying:

  • It is unlawful to carry a firearm concealed on or about one's person without a permit, except for a person in their dwelling, place of business, or on property owned or controlled by him or her.
  • 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 (active and retired) of Colorado, 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.
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.

  • Does not chronically and habitually abuse alcohol.

  • Demonstrates competency with a firearm.
  • 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.

  • 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.

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.

Miscellaneous

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

See Also:
National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action
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