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Colorado Gun Laws

Posted on March 29, 2024

Colorado has its own set of laws and regulations governing the possession, purchase, and use of firearms. Understanding these laws is crucial for residents and visitors alike to ensure compliance and avoid legal consequences. 

Open Carry Laws

Colorado does not have laws that explicitly allow the open carry of firearms. However, it is generally permitted for individuals to do so without a permit. The right to possess a gun is generally protected under Article 2, Section 3 of the Colorado constitution:

“All persons have certain natural, essential and inalienable rights, among which may be reckoned the right of enjoying and defending their lives and liberties; of acquiring, possessing and protecting property; and of seeking and obtaining their safety and happiness.”

Colorado also provides the following protections for open carrying under C.R.S. 18-12-105 (2):

“(2) It shall not be an offense if the defendant was:

(a) A person 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; or

(b) A person in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance who carries a weapon for

lawful protection of such person’s or another’s person or property while traveling;”

However, convicted felons, minors, and drug addicts are excluded. Additionally, local jurisdictions have the authority to regulate or prohibit open carry in certain areas. For example, Denver County prohibits it.

Concealed Carry Permits

Colorado is a “must-issue” state for concealed carry permits, meaning that authorities will issue a permit to eligible applicants who meet the following specific requirements under C.R.S. 18-12-203:

“(a) Is a legal resident of the state of Colorado. For purposes of this part 2, a person who is a member of the armed forces and is stationed pursuant to permanent duty station orders at a military

installation in this state, and a member of the person’s immediate family living in Colorado, shall be deemed to be a legal resident of the state of Colorado.

(b) Is twenty-one years of age or older;

(c) Is not ineligible to possess a firearm pursuant to section 18-12-108 or federal law;

(d) Has not been convicted of perjury under section 18-8-503, in relation to information provided or deliberately omitted on a permit application submitted pursuant to this part 2;


(I) Does not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that the applicant’s normal faculties are impaired.”

To obtain a concealed carry permit, applicants must complete a firearms training course certified by the state and undergo a background check. 

Red Flag Law

Colorado implemented a “red flag” law, allowing: 

Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14.5-103


(a) A family or household member of the respondent, a community member, or a law enforcement officer or agency may request a temporary extreme risk protection order without notice to the respondent…”

In other words, law enforcement officers or family members can petition the court for an Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) to temporarily remove firearms from individuals who pose a significant risk of harming themselves or others. The law includes due process protections, such as a hearing before a judge, to safeguard individuals’ rights.