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Colorado Criminal Defense Blog

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The laws regarding weapons and firearms in our state are constantly changing, and the debate about our second amendment rights rages on. Because of this, it is vital that all people who own firearms and other weapons to keep themselves updated on the laws.


To that end, this blog post will offer refresher on some basic laws and rules about using and owning weapons in our state. Still, knowing the law and practicing it are two very different things. If you are charged with having a weapon and you believe you are holding it within your constitutional rights, call a Colorado weapons lawyer immediately.


FAQs about Colorado Weapon Laws


Is Colorado a Concealed Carry State?

Yes. Colorado is considered a “shall-issue” concealed carry state. In other words, concealed carry is allowed in Colorado, but you must apply for a permit.


To get a permit, you will have to meet all of Colorado’s qualifications and prove that you are competent using a handgun. Even if you fit all of the qualifications, you may be denied.


If you have this permit, open or concealed carry is allowed throughout the state (except in prohibited locations).


What Type of Firearms Are Prohibited in Colorado?

Keep in mind that concealed carry laws apply to handguns. Long guns (shotguns and rifles) are prohibited throughout the state. There is also no exception for antique guns or replicas.


Assault weapons are not banned in the state of Colorado, but have been banned in Denver.


Colorado Weapons Charges Lawyer

Who Is Not Allowed to Own A Weapon?

The following people will be prohibited from applying for a concealed carry permit, and will be subject to criminal charges if they are caught carrying a firearm:


  • Individuals under the age of 21
  • Non-residents of Colorado (depending on the state that you live in, you may or may not be able to use your permit in Colorado)
  • Convicted felons
  • Individuals who have been convicted on domestic violence charges
  • Individuals who have an active protection order against them


What Are the Laws For Buying a Weapon?

It is fairly easy to purchase a firearm in Colorado if you are legally allowed to carry one. If the seller is not a licensed dealer, the buyer will have to undergo a background check before buying the firearm in a private sale. There is no waiting period for buying a firearm.


Where Are Weapons Prohibited?

Whether or not you have a concealed carry permit, you are not allowed to carry a firearm in the following places:


  • School premises
  • In your vehicle (unless the firearm is unloaded)
  • Buildings that are prohibited by federal law
  • Certain government buildings


Additionally, Colorado law prohibits anyone under the influence of alcohol or controlled substances to possess a firearm. Although it is legal to carry firearms inside of restaurants (unless the property owner specifically prohibits them), you should be careful when carrying your weapon inside a bar or venue that sells alcohol.


Does Colorado Have a “Stand Your Ground” Law?

Some states that allow concealed or open carry also allow firearm owners to use their weapon if they believe they are in immediate danger of being harmed. These “stand your ground” laws are highly controversial, but allow firearm owners who claim they were acting in self-defense to build a strong defense strategy.


Colorado does not have a “Stand Your Ground” law. But it does have a “Make My Day” law.


This law allows gun owners to discharge their firearm if they feel threatened inside of their home. If you believe, for example, an intruder is intending to commit a felony or cause harm to anyone in your home, you are legally allowed to shoot and kill the intruder.


This law has been changing over the course of 2016, however. Keep an eye on the news for any changes that could be applied to this law in the upcoming year.


Denver Weapons Crimes Attorney

Otherwise, unlawfully or recklessly discharging a firearm is also a crime in Colorado.


What Are the Penalties for Unlawfully Carrying a Weapon?

There are multiple different weapons charges in Colorado, but below are the most common ones:


Carrying a concealed handgun without the proper permit is a class 2 misdemeanor (for second and subsequent incidents, the charge is a class 5 felony.)


Privately transferring a firearm without performing a background check is a class 1 misdemeanor.


Purchasing a firearm in an illegal manner is a class 4 felony.


Possessing a firearm as a minor is a class 2 misdemeanor.


Possessing a defaced firearm, or defacing a firearm (removing the serial number or any other forms of identification) is a class 1 misdemeanor.


These charges could result in jail time or fines if convicted. Penalties may also include the loss of your gun rights, especially if the charges against you are felonies. Always call an experienced Colorado weapons attorney after receiving any sort of weapons charge.


About the Author:

Kimberly Diego is a criminal defense attorney in Denver practicing at The Law Office of Kimberly Diego. She obtained her undergraduate degree from Georgetown University and her law degree at the University of Colorado. She was named one of Super Lawyers’ “Rising Stars of 2012” and “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in Colorado” for 2012-2016 by The National Trial Lawyers. Both honors are limited to a small percentage of practicing attorneys in each state.  She has also been recognized for her work in domestic violence cases.

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