Colorado has a number of specific laws on how weapons are regulated in our state.
In this post, we’re going to provide an overview of those laws, and let you know what you can do if you find yourself facing weapons charges for violating one of them.
There are two weapons laws that apply to all citizens in the state: Title 18 and Title 33. These two laws are intended to offer protection to both citizens and weapons owners.
This law permits a person to carry a firearm inside a vehicle only if the firearm is used to protect the person, the person’s property, or another person. It also permits a person to possess a handgun in an automobile, dwelling, or place of business.
If a person carries a weapon into a home, hotel room, business, or other area, the weapon must be displayed in plain view.
Local jurisdictions are not permitted to place restrictions when a person wishes to travel with a weapon.
Current and retired law enforcement officers are permitted to carry concealed handguns when they meet the law’s qualifications. These individuals are exempted from local and state laws that prohibit concealed firearm carrying.
Under this law, a person is allowed to carry a weapon in his or her vehicle for wildlife hunting purposes.
This law restricts people, other than those who meet narrow qualifications, from possessing or controlling a firearm (with the exceptions of a revolver or pistol) inside a motor vehicle unless the firearm is not loaded.
Other Weapons Laws and Restrictions
In Colorado, it is legal to do the following:
- Carry a concealed weapon with a permit. You must follow certain requirements as set forth by your local sheriff’s department.
- Carry a weapon into the Colorado National Forests.
- Carry a weapon in a state park, rest area, vehicle, or any other area that is not marked off-limits.
However, you cannot lawfully commit these acts:
- Carry a weapon on school grounds, in secure airport areas, in many public buildings, or while riding on a snowmobile without a permit.
- Discharge a weapon inside National Forest areas when within 150 yards of an occupied area, campsite, building, residence, or developed recreation site.
- Discharge a weapon inside National Forest areas when shooting across a Forest Development road or body of water.
- Discharge a weapon inside National Forest areas while placing another person or property at risk for damage or injury.
- Discharge a weapon within or into a cave.
- Possess a weapon while inside a National Forest visitor center, maintenance building, or administrative office.
If you are traveling to Colorado from another state, you can lawfully carry a concealed weapon with a permit as long as your state recognizes Colorado’s permits for concealed weapons.
You are not required to register a gun in Colorado.
Colorado Weapons Charges
The following offenses are punishable by Colorado law.
- Possession or use of incendiary devices or their components
- Possessing illegal or dangerous weapons
- Possessing a defaced firearm
- Unlawful firearms purchase
- Unlawful concealed weapon carrying
- Unlawful possession of weapons at a school, college or university
- Unlawful use of a stun gun
- Illegal discharge of a firearm
- Violating a local ordinance regarding firearms in private vehicles
- Possession of weapons by a previous offender
- Possession of weapons by a juvenile
- Unlawfully providing a weapon to a juvenile
- Unlawfully permitting a juvenile to use a weapon
If you are facing weapons charges, it’s important to speak with a knowledgeable Colorado criminal attorney as soon as charges are filed against you.
How to Beat Colorado Weapons Charges
If you have been charged with violating Colorado’s weapons laws, it’s likely that your weapon has been seized by law enforcement. You could be facing serious penalties if convicted, so you need to act right away to start building a solid defense against your charges.
These are some of the most common defenses a skilled lawyer may use to get your charges reduced or dismissed:
- Unlawful search and seizure – The police failed to follow protocol during your arrest.
- Second Amendment violations – Your right to bear arms is protected by the Second Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
- Self-defense – You may have used the weapon to protect yourself.
- Defense of others – You may have used the weapon to protect another person or group of people.
- Exemption – Under certain circumstances, you may qualify for an exemption.
Remember, this is just meant as an overview of our weapons laws. There are all kinds of nuances that are important to understand – both to avoid violating the law and to fight back if you do end up getting charged with something.
About the Author:
Since 2005, Jeffrey L. Weeden has been practicing criminal defense law in Colorado and has helped countless clients protect their rights and freedoms as a respected, caring, hard-nosed criminal defense attorney. Over the course of his career, Mr. Weeden’s work has been recognized in numerous ways, including being named to the Top 100 Trial Lawyers list by The National Trial Lawyers, earning a 10.0 “Suberb” Avvo rating, receiving Martindale-Hubbard’s highest peer review rating — AV Preeminent, and being asked to speak on several issues of interest to the legal community. Additionally, he is someone who cares deeply about his community and those in need, and is an active member of a number of professional legal organizations, including the Rocky Mountain Children’s Law Center and Law Firm Pro Bono Coordinators.