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Colorado Gun Control Laws

As divisive as the national debate on gun control can be, both gun owners and the general public are mainly concerned with safety. To that end, the Rocky Mountain State has attempted to balance both sides' interests when it comes to crafting gun control regulations. Getting a handle on these gun laws can be tricky, especially when states and the federal government have separate and sometimes overlapping statutes. Where they intersect, federal law always trumps, so Colorado gun owners are also subject to the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act and the National Firearms Act, and should be familiar with both statutes.

Even under the Second Amendment, states can regulate the purchase and use of certain weapons and accessories. Sawed-off shotguns and silencers, for example, are illegal under Colorado's gun control laws. However, Colorado also has no waiting period for prospective gun buyers, so long as they meet certain eligibility requirements for gun ownership.

Overview Of Colorado Gun Control Laws

For more information on Colorado’s gun control laws, consult the chart below.

Statutes

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-102 (possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-103 (possession of a defaced firearm)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-104 (defacing a firearm)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-105 (unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-105.5 (unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon on school grounds)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-106 (prohibited use of weapons)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-107.5 (illegal discharge of a firearm)

Colorado Revised Statutes Section 18-12-111 (unlawful purchase of firearms)

Illegal Arms

Dangerous Weapons: firearm silencers, machine guns, short rifle/shotguns, ballistic knives, those with serial numbers altered or removed.

Waiting Period

None

Who May Not Own

Minor (under 18)

One with previous convictions of either a felony or an attempt to commit or conspiracy to commit a felony.

Penalties

Possession of a Dangerous Weapon: This is a class 5 felony punishable by 1-3 years imprisonment and $1,000-$100,000 in fines. Subsequent violations are class 4 felonies punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment and $2,000-$500,000 in fines.

Possession of an Illegal Weapon : This is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment and $500-$5,000 in fines.

Possession of a Defaced Firearm : This is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment and $500-$5,000 in fines.

Defacing a Firearm : This is a class 1 misdemeanor punishable by 6-18 months imprisonment and $500-$5,000 in fines.

Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon : This is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 3-12 months imprisonment and $250-$5,000 in fines.

Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon on School Grounds : This is a class 6 felony punishable by 1-1.5 years imprisonment and $1,000-$100,000 in fines.

Prohibited Use of Weapons : This is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 3-12 months imprisonment and $250-$5,000 in fines.

Illegal Discharge of a Firearm : This is a class 5 felony punishable by 1-3 years imprisonment and $1,000-$100,000 in fines.

Unlawful Purchase of Firearms : This is a class 4 felony punishable by 2-6 years imprisonment and $2,000-$500,000 in fines.

Defenses

Defenses against firearms charges include:

  • Acts were committed by a peace officer or military service member in the lawful discharge of his or her duties
  • Acts were committed by one with a valid permit and license for the weapon
  • Defacing of serial number due to normal wear and tear
  • Mistake of fact
  • Lack of intent
  • Self-defense (for illegal discharge of firearm)

Note: State laws are always subject to change through the passage of new legislation, rulings in the higher courts (including federal decisions), ballot initiatives, and other means. While we strive to provide the most current information available, please consult an attorney or conduct your own legal research to verify the state law(s) you are researching.

Colorado Gun Control Laws: Related Resources

More Questions? Get A Free Initial Case Review 

Gun laws at both the state and federal level are always in flux. This uncertainty can be unsettling for gun owners especially in light of the penalties for violations. The best way to stay on top of current gun laws and to protect yourself if you end up facing charges is by reaching out to a trusted criminal defense attorney. Get in touch with one today for a free initial case review.

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