Colorado is a shall-issue state where concealed carry permits are issued to county residents by local sheriff’s offices.No purchase permits or firearms registration are required for handguns. For private-party transfers of firearms, the seller must request that a licensed dealer perform a background check of the buyer and must get approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
Open carry is legal in Colorado for any person who is at least 18 years old and who 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 the local government’s 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) and non-residents with a CCW permit from a state that Colorado honors. CCW permits can be issued to any resident at least 21 years old and not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm. Concealed carry permits require a firearms training course that has been state-approved. Colorado doesn’t issue non-resident permits with the exception of members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members that live in the state. In terms of reciprocity, Colorado will only honor resident CCW licenses from states with which it has a reciprocity agreement.
Colorado is a Castle Doctrine state. It grants its citizens the “right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.” There is no duty to retreat, and the law applies at a person’s residence or in another dwelling. Although the state does not have an express stand your ground law, the Colorado Supreme Court has affirmed Colorado does not include a duty to retreat and “permits non-aggressors to stand their ground when acting in self-defense.”
Use of Physical Force in Defense of Property
A person is justified in using reasonable and appropriate physical force upon another person when and to the extent that he or she reasonably believes it necessary to prevent an attempt to commit theft, criminal mischief or criminal tampering involving property, but he may use deadly physical force under these circumstances only in defense of himself or another.
Use of Physical Force in Defense of a Person
A person is justified in using degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary in order to defend the person or a third person from the use or imminent use of unlawful physical force and he may use a degree of force which he reasonably believes to be necessary for that purpose.
Use of Deadly Physical Force Against an Intruder
Any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, when the occupant has a reasonable belief someone:
Has unlawfully entered the occupant’s dwelling and is committing a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry;
Is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry; and
When the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force — no matter how slight — against any occupant.
Use of Physical Force in Defense of Premises
A person in possession or control of any building, realty or other premises, or a person who is licensed or privileged to be there, is justified in using reasonable and appropriate physical force when and to the extent that it is reasonably necessary to prevent or terminate what he believes to be the commission or attempted commission of an unlawful trespass by the other person in or upon the building, realty or premises. However, he or she may use deadly force only in defense of himself or another, or when he reasonably believes it necessary to prevent what he reasonably believes to be an attempt by the trespasser to commit first degree arson.
Civil and Criminal Immunity
Any occupant of a dwelling using justified physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of the law shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force as well as any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.
Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Colorado?
Yes. Stun guns and Tasers are legal to purchase and possess without a permit.
Chemical Spray/Pepper Spray?
Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Colorado?
Yes. There is no statute prohibiting the purchase or use of pepper spray in Colorado.
MAGAZINE LIMITS FOR HANDGUNS?
Does Colorado have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?
No more than 15 rounds
It is illegal to sell, transfer or possess a "high capacity" magazine (defined as >15 rounds for firearms other than shotguns), unless you 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 Ordinance 5-8-2 which makes any ammunition feeding device with the capacity to accept more than 10 rounds illegal.
Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Colorado?
Colorado statutes don't specifically address firearms at hotels. Please note that each hotel develops their own policies and the individual hotel should be contacted to inquire about it's concealed carry policy. See the Handguns at Hotels page for additional information.
Store in a Vehicle in an Employee Parking Lot?
Does Colorado have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?
Are "No Weapons Allowed" signs enforced in Colorado? If yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.
Does Colorado have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e. Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?
The state of Colorado has partial preemption. Local governments may prohibit the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area within the local government’s jurisdiction. A local government may not enact an ordinance, regulation or other law that prohibits the sale, purchase or possession of a firearm that a person may lawfully sell, purchase or possess under state or federal law. A local government may not restrict a person’s ability to travel with a weapon in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance.
Yes. Colorado has a red flag law. It allows Law Enforcement or a family member to petition the Court to temporarily remove guns and ammunition from people who have been deemed by a judge to pose a danger to themselves or others for up to a year. (future Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14.5-103)
No definition of brandishing was found in Colorado law. However, a person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly discharges a firearm in a public place except when engaged in lawful target practice; or displays a deadly weapon, displays any article used or fashioned to cause a person to believe it is a deadly weapon, or represents verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon in a public place in an alarming manner.
Carry While Using Alcohol or Controlled Substances?
Does Colorado have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or controlled substances?
Not while under the influence. “Controlled substance” means a drug, substance, or immediate precursor included in schedules I through V of part 2 of § 18-18-102, including cocaine, marijuana, marijuana concentrate, cathinones, any synthetic cannabinoid, and salvia divinorum.
As a responsibly armed American, regardless of the laws in your state, it is unwise to carry while under the influence of any substance that could impair your judgement, slow your reaction times, or impact your decision-making abilities. Any decision you make while carrying a firearm could have life-altering consequences.
Does Colorado issue concealed carry permits to non-residents?
Yes, but only for members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate families.
PUBLIC ACCESS TO CONCEALED CARRY REGISTRY?
Does Colorado allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?
Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Colorado?
Background Checks for Private Gun Sales? Exceptions?
Are background checks required for private gun sales in Colorado? Are there exceptions?
Yes. Colorado requires private gun sellers who are not federally licensed dealers to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm. With the exceptions listed below, any individual seeking to transfer possession of a firearm must have a background check conducted on the prospective transferee by a licensed gun dealer and must obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following the background check request. There are exemptions which include sales or transfers to family, transfers to an estate or trust upon the owner’s death or temporary transfers for self-defense where the unlicensed transferee reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury.
Any person who intentionally, knowingly or recklessly provides a handgun with or without payment to any person under the age of 18, or any person who knows of such juvenile's conduct in violation of this law and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the violation commits the crime of unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.
Possess a handgun on my private property without a permit?
Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home without a permit?
Yes. A permit is not required for anyone legally entitled to carry a firearm to carry a handgun in his or her own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under his or her control at the time of the act of carrying.
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State Constitutional Provision
The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons."
The issuing state recognizes/honors a Colorado permit (CHP). The permit holder is a resident of the issuing state. The permit holder is in possession of a matching state issued driver’s license or a State ID showing that they are a resident of that state. The permit holder is 21 years of age or older. The permit holder is in possession of a valid permit.
Colorado does not recognize permits issued in the District of Columbia.
Note: Firearms must be carried in accordance with the laws of the state you are visiting. Be sure to check the laws of the other state before traveling there with your firearms.
States That Have Restricted Reciprocity with Colorado
Colorado offers resident and non-resident (military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate families) permits. If indicated with “Resident only” below, that state only honors Colorado resident permits (and not those issued to non-residents).
Anyone who can legally possess a firearm may carry it concealed in permitless carry states without a permit/license. The minimum age* for permitless carry is shown. Check each state’s page for more information and any restrictions that may apply.
*PC-18 = permitless carry if at least 18 years old
*PC-21 = permitless carry if at least 21 years old
Yes, but only for members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members that live in the state. The process is the same as for residents.
Within 30 days after a permittee changes the address specified on his or her permit or 3 business days after his or her permit is lost, stolen or destroyed, the permittee shall notify the issuing Sheriff of the change of address or permit loss, theft or destruction using the address change/permit lost or destroyed form. Failure to notify the Sheriff is a Class 1 Petty Offense.
If a permit is stolen or lost it becomes invalid and the issuing sheriff must be notified within 3 business days. Download and complete the permit lost or destroyed form and have it notarized.
Moving to Colorado and interested in applying for a resident permit? How soon can you apply? Colorado issues permits to residents and members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members. You can apply for your permit with your local sheriff once you have established your residence.
Moving from Colorado and have a Colorado resident permit? Does that permit transfer to your new state? Is there a grace period during which your Colorado permit remains valid? If a person with a Colorado permit to carry a concealed weapon establishes residency in another state, the permit expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.
Applicants for a Colorado permit to carry a concealed handgun must demonstrate competence with a handgun by submitting evidence of completion of one of the following:
A training certificate from a handgun training class obtained within the 10 years preceding submittal of the application.
Evidence of experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competitions or current military service;
Evidence that, at the time the application is submitted, the applicant is a certified instructor;
Proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the U.S. Armed Forces within 3 years or that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the 10 years preceding submittal of the application; or
A certificate showing retirement from a Colorado law enforcement agency that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the 10 years preceding submittal of the application.
The applicant shall submit the original training certificate or a photocopy thereof that includes the original signature of the class instructor. The training cannot be through an online course, but must be attended in person at a physical location with a certified instructor.
No additional training is required for permit renewals.
Within 120 days prior to expiration of a permit, the permittee may obtain a renewal form from the county sheriff’s office where you reside, own property or own a business. A permittee who fails to file a renewal form on or before the permit expiration date and up to 60 days after the expiration date, may renew the permit by paying a late fee of $15.00 in addition to the renewal fees. No permit shall be renewed 6 months or more after its expiration date and the permit shall be deemed permanently expired. A person whose permit has permanently expired may reapply by submitting a new application and the required fees.
Complete a firearms training course, if required.
Download the application or pick up from your local sheriff’s office.
Submit a completed renewal form, photo ID, proof of residency (i.e., lease agreement, mortgage statement, copy of tax statement), a notarized affidavit stating that the permittee remains qualified pursuant to the criteria specified and renewal fee.
You will be notified by mail if your application has been approved.
Law enforcement officers (LEOs) and Retired LEOs (RLEOs) may choose to carry under the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA), often referred to as HR 218. Under 18 U.S. Code §§ 926B & 926C, qualified LEOs and qualified retired LEOs, or those separated from service in good standing, can carry a concealed firearm in any jurisdiction in the United States, regardless of state or local laws, with some exceptions. For details, check out our Federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) page.
Colorado has State Standards for Departments to provide photo IDs to RLEOs. They require a complete background check and fees may be charged.
Col. Rev. Stat. § 24-33.5-112 Dept of Public Safety State law enforcement agencies to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request Col. Rev. Stat. § 24-31-109 Attorney general to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request Col. Rev. Stat. § 24-35-119 Dept of Revenue Law enforcement agencies of the department to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request Col. Rev. Stat. § 31-30-106 Police to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request Col. Rev. Stat. § 23-5-142 Postsecondary Education State Universities and Colleges Institution law enforcement agencies to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request Col. Rev. Stat. § 17-1-115.2 Correctional law enforcement agencies to provide identification cards to retired peace officers upon request
Per the CO DPS State Patrol website, the Colorado State Patrol Academy Range can only provide firearms qualification service to retired Colorado State Patrol Sworn Officers. Anyone other than retired Colorado State Patrol Sworn officers should contact their Local County Sheriff’s Department.
Where Can I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Colorado?
Carry in bars/restaurants that serve alcohol? Yes, unless posted, and provided you are not under the influence.
Carry in my vehicle without a permit/license? Yes.
Carry in roadside rest areas? Yes.
Carry in state/national parks, state/national forests and WMAs? Yes.
Carry on public transportation? Yes, with a permit (permit is legal authority).
Carry in places of worship? There is no state statute prohibiting concealed carry in places of worship. However, since places of worship are private property, they may post signs prohibiting firearms.
Where Can't I Carry a Concealed Firearm in Colorado?
Places off-limits even with a permit/license
Public elementary, middle, junior high or high schools, (CCW permit holders may have handguns inside of vehicles and if the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun must be in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle locked) [Co. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5];
In Colorado, you can own almost any knife as long as it is not a ballistic knife. All legal knives can be carried in the open. It is illegal to carry concealed a knife that is larger than 3.5 inches unless it is a fishing or hunting knife. Any knife with a blade shorter than 3.5 inches can be carried openly or concealed. Deadly weapons may not be possessed on school grounds. Local authorities may also have laws, such as in Boulder County where it is illegal to carry any concealed knife.
I can legally carry a concealed firearm in Colorado, but can I wear a COVID 19 protective mask while carrying concealed?
There is no known statute in Colorado making it illegal to wear a COVID mask while carrying concealed.In addition, the Weld County sheriff has stated, “Nowhere in Colorado law does it state one cannot wear a face mask and lawfully carry a concealed weapon at the same time,”
CARRY WHILE GUN HUNTING?
Can you concealed carry while shotgun/rifle hunting in Colorado?
Yes. A person who may lawfully possess a handgun may carry a handgun while legally engaged in hunting activities within the state.
Here at the USCCA, it is our mission to provide responsible gun owners with the tools they need to be educated and trained. Our team is constantly working to provide you with the most up-to-date and comprehensive list of self-defense laws available for every state.
If you have any questions that you don’t see answered here — let us know! Just email [email protected] and we will be sure to get your question resolved. Your feedback matters to us, and we appreciate you helping to make this page the best possible resource for responsible gun owners!
Permit numbers were obtained from the Crime Prevention Resource Center’s publication entitled, “Concealed Carry Permit Holders Across the United States.” Numbers include resident and non-resident permits for those states that issue both.
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.
SIf you have any questions regarding USCCA Membership, Delta Defense, handguns laws or the lawful process of carrying concealed, please contact the award-winning Delta DefenseCustomer Engagement Team.
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