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Colorado Gun Control Laws

Getting a handle on Colorado 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

Relevant Statutes (Laws)

Illegal Arms

Guns classified as dangerous weapons are illegal in Colorado. Dangerous weapons include:
  • Firearm silencers
  • Machine guns
  • Short rifle/shotguns
  • Ballistic knives
  • Guns with serial numbers altered or removed.

Waiting Period

There is no waiting period to purchase a firearm in Colorado.

Who May Not Own

You are prohibited from owning a firearm if you:
  • Are a minor (under 18)
  • Have a previous conviction of:
    • A felony
    • An attempt to commit or conspiracy to commit a felony
    • A crime punishable for more than a year
  • Have been convicted of a misdemeanor or a crime of domestic violence
  • Are subject to an order of protection
  • Have been committed to a mental institution or have been adjudicated to be "mentally defective"
  • Are not a citizen or a permanent resident of the United States
  • Are a fugitive from the law

License Required?

Colorado doesn't require gun owners or purchasers to obtain a permit.

Concealed Carry License Required?

  • Residents: You need a license to carry a concealed firearm in public.
  • Non Residents: You can carry a concealed firearm if you have a license from a state Colorado recognizes.

Open Carried Allowed?

Yes, open carry is allowed and no permit is required. Local governments may, however, enact regulations prohibiting open carry in areas that are within the local government's jurisdiction.

Eligibility for a Concealed Carry License

You can get a concealed carry license if:
  • You are 21 years or older
  • You are a legal resident of Colorado
  • You are eligible to have a firearm under federal and state laws
  • You completed a gun safety course
  • You are not addicted to alcohol or other controlled substance
  • You have never been convicted of perjury or deliberately failed to disclose information on a concealed to carry application
  • You are not subject to a protection order

Machine Gun Laws

Machine guns are prohibited in Colorado unless you have a valid permit to possess a machine gun.

Penalties for Illegal Firearm Possession

  • 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.
  • Unlawfully Carrying a Concealed Weapon: This is a class 2 misdemeanor punishable by 3-12 months imprisonment and $250-$5,000 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.
  • Possession by a Previous Offender: This is a class 6 felony punishable up to 18 months in prison or up to $100,000 in fines or both.

Penalties for Illegal Possession on or Near School Grounds

 This is a class 6 felony punishable by 1-1.5 years imprisonment and $1,000-$100,000 in fines.

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 About Gun Rights? An Attorney Can Help

Gun laws at both the state and federal levels 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 Colorado criminal defense attorney.

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