Colorado Gun Laws

Colorado is a gun-friendly state in general, although the city of Denver does have some gun laws that are stricter than the rest of the state. Many of the laws regarding firearms in Colorado are in line with federal regulations.

Purchasing a Firearm

A person may be prohibited from purchasing a firearm in Colorado if he or she is a felon, has a history of drug abuse or mental illness, or has been charged with a domestic violence offense (even if the person has not yet been convicted). Anyone who wants to buy a gun in Colorado must undergo a comprehensive background check prior to purchase. The background check is required for both purchases from a licensed firearm dealer and through private parties. The state currently does not have a waiting period for taking possession of a firearm after purchasing it. Colorado does not require any permits to purchase a firearm, and gun owns are not mandated to register their guns with the state.

Concealed Carry

Colorado is a “Shall Issue” state for concealed carry licenses, meaning that the license is granted to all applicants that meet state requirements. The requirements for a concealed carry license in Colorado include:

  • 21 or older
  • Resident of Colorado
  • Is eligible for a concealed carry license according to state and federal laws
  • Does not have a conviction for committing perjury on a concealed carry license application
  • Does not habitually abuse drugs or alcohol
  • Is not subject to an order of protection against them
  • Is able to demonstrate that he or she can competently handle a hand gun

In order for a person to provide proof that he or she can competently use a hand gun it is typically required for a person to successfully complete a training course taught by a licensed professional. A non-resident of Colorado may carry a concealed weapon if he or she holds a concealed carry license from a state that has concealed carry license reciprocity with Colorado.

Open Carry

The open carry of a hung gun or long gun is permitted throughout most of Colorado. The exception of this open carry rules applies to the city of Denver, where openly carrying a firearm has been banned. Despite the fact that the Colorado legislature passed a law designed to create statewide uniform gun laws, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Denver can keep its ban on openly carrying firearms even if that law goes against the regulation that the rest of the state follows. Open carry is prohibited on school campuses, most federal buildings, and buildings that have fixed security check points.

Transporting Firearms

In Colorado it is legal to transport firearms in a motor vehicle openly or concealed even if a person does not have a concealed carry license. If transporting a handgun, it is permissible for it to be loaded. When transporting a long gun, the firearm must not be loaded.

Castle Doctrine

Colorado is one of the many states that have adopted Castle Doctrine Laws. These laws permit the inhabitant of a residence to use force, including deadly force, against an intruder in self defense with no duty to retreat. This law prevents a person from being charged with a crime if an intruder is injured or killed. Castle Doctrine Laws also protect the inhabitant of a residence from being subject to civil lawsuits to recover monetary damages y the intruder or the intruder’s family if the intruder is killed.
In Colorado, the Castle Doctrine Laws only apply to residences. The state has not adopted the broader Stand Your Ground Law, which allows a person to use force, including deadly force, against any person that is perceived to be threatening to cause bodily harm or death no matter where the event occurs.

Magazine Restriction Law

As of July 1, 2013 Colorado put a law into effect that bans the sale and transfer of firearm magazines that hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition within state lines. Magazines that hold more than 15 rounds that were legally purchased prior to the law going into effect may be kept by the owner, and their use is not restricted. This law has some holes, as it does not discuss purchasing large capacity magazines from other states, nor does it address non-residents visiting the state while carrying a firearm with a large capacity magazine.