Carrying a firearm for self-defense comes with a lot of responsibility. Knowing the laws where you carry is just one important task armed Americans must undertake. To help with that, we will be providing you with a summary of basic carry laws for several states. Learn about the most important things to know when carrying in Colorado below.
Getting a Concealed Carry Permit
Open carry is legal in Colorado for any person who is at least 18 years old and can legally possess a firearm, except in Denver County and other posted areas. Local governments may enact regulations prohibiting open carrying of firearms in a building or specific area within their jurisdiction, as long as signs are posted to that effect.
Concealed carry is legal in Colorado for residents with a Colorado permit to carry a concealed weapon (CCW). This also applies to non-residents of states with which Colorado has reciprocity agreements. CCW permits can be issued to any resident at least 21 years old and not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. CCW permits require a firearms training course that has been state-approved.
Colorado doesn’t issue non-resident permits with the exception of to members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members who live in the state. In terms of reciprocity, Colorado will honor resident CCW licenses only from states with which it has a reciprocity agreement. Individuals may also carry a small chemical dispenser of pepper spray sold commercially for personal protection, a stun gun or a Taser. All are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.
A permit is not required when buying a handgun, and there is no firearms registration in Colorado. For a private-party transfer of firearms, the seller must request that a licensed dealer perform a background check of the buyer and get approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Colorado law does not address a minimum age for the purchase of a handgun, although the legal age according to federal law is 18 years old. There is also no mandatory waiting period for handgun purchases.
It is illegal to sell, transfer or possess a “high-capacity” magazine (defined as greater than 15 rounds for firearms other than shotguns). This is unless the individual owned the large-capacity magazine on July 1, 2013, and maintained continuous possession of the large-capacity magazine. Large-capacity magazines capable of operating only with .22-caliber rimfire ammunition and tubular magazines that are contained in lever-action firearms are exempt. The city of Boulder has an ordinance which makes any ammunition-feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds illegal.
Where Can One Carry Concealed?
In terms of locations where a concealed handgun may be carried, anyone who is 18 years old and legally entitled to carry a firearm can carry a concealed handgun without a permit in a vehicle in Colorado. There is no duty to inform a law enforcement officer that you’re carrying a concealed firearm. Carry is also allowed at roadside rest areas with a Colorado CCW or a permit issued by a state that Colorado honors. Other areas where permit holders can carry concealed are:
- Restaurants that serve alcohol, unless posted, and provided the person is not under the influence
- State/national parks
- State/national forests
- Wildlife Management Areas
- Places of worship, unless posted
Locations where concealed carry is prohibited even for permit holders include:
- Public elementary, middle, junior high or high schools (A CCW permit holder may have handguns inside of a vehicle. If the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun must be in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle locked.)
- Public buildings with fixed security checkpoints, such as courthouses
- Secure areas of airports
- On a snowmobile
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law
On March 30, 2022, Gov. Jared Polis signed HB 1086 into law. It prohibits a person from openly carrying a firearm within any polling location or central count facility, or within 100 feet of a ballot drop box or any building in which a polling location or central count facility is located, while an election or any related ongoing election administration activity is in progress. The law will go into effect on May 29, 2022.
On May 16th, 2022, the Denver City Council passed an ordinance banning concealed carry from city buildings and parks. This ordinance is to include any building or portion of a building owned by the city, leased by the city, leased to the city, as well as city parks, including mountain parks. The bill has been sent to the Mayor’s office for signature.
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The information contained on this website is provided as a service to USCCA, Inc. members and the concealed carry community and does not constitute legal advice. Although we attempt to address all areas of concealed carry laws in all states, we make no claims, representations, warranties, promises or guarantees as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of the information disclosed. Legal advice must always be tailored to the individual facts and circumstances of each individual case. Laws are constantly changing, and, as such, nothing contained on this website should be used as a substitute for the advice of a lawyer.