Return to Blog Home

What You Should Know About Colorado Open Carry Laws

As you likely know, the Second Amendment is a hot topic in the United States. Because of this, state and federal courts have started to crack down on weapon offenses. For this reason, it is extremely important to understand the intricacies and penalties associated with Colorado’s open carry laws. Adhering as closely as possible to gun laws not only keep you and everyone around you safer, but helps you avoid an unfortunate charge. Colorado explicitly recognizes the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms, but it also has strict gun law enforcement.

As a respected Denver criminal defense attorney, Jeff Weeden has spent years defending numerous clients against weapons charges in Colorado. If you have charges from violating Colorado open carry laws, or if you just want to know your rights, contact Jeff Weeden today. During your free consultation, Mr. Weeden will ensure that you leave with a wealth of information regarding your case. For more information on our Colorado legal services, call 720-893-3831 today. 

Who Can Open Carry in Colorado?

Colorado open carry laws state that residents of ages 18 and older have the right to carry qualifying firearms. These individuals, generally, must be in good legal standing. It is an open carry state, which means that eligible residents have the right to carry a firearm without a permit, license, or registration in almost all cities. A specific and noteworthy exception is Denver, the state’s capital. This distinction came about following a 2004 change in legislation.

Colorado also allows for concealed carry permits, with a few restrictions. Only residents aged 21 or older who are in good legal standing may obtain this permit. Additionally, it is not necessary to have a permit for purchasing firearms, nor is it necessary to obtain registration for them. Basically, if you meet the following specifications, you may purchase and openly carry a firearm in Colorado.

  • Legal adult (18 or older)
  • In good legal standing

Who Can’t Open Carry in Colorado?

Despite the relative ease with which most people purchase and carry weapons in Colorado, it is important to know the existing restrictions. Restrictions involve who has the right to carry firearms, as well as what kinds of firearms they may carry. Additionally, some cities have stricter laws, or prohibit open carrying completely. Below, we outline the nuances of Colorado open carry laws and their restrictions for who has the right to carry firearms.

  • If you have a conviction for, or are under indictment for, the following, you may not carry a firearm.
    • A felony offense
    • An attempted felony offense
    • A domestic violence misdemeanor
  • You have an addiction to controlled substances or alcohol abuse.
  • The state has a protective order which bars you from possessing weapons.
  • You underwent dishonorable discharge from the military.
  • You are in the United States illegally, or under a non-immigrant VISA.
  • You’ve renounced your American citizenship.
  • Minors under the age of 18 may not carry handguns.
  • Residents from other states that do not recognize Colorado open carry laws.

What Are the Penalties for Colorado Open Carry Laws?

Colorado, like many other states, has complex gun laws. In order to demonstrate the severity of gun law violation charges, we listed the penalties for different types of violations. Familiarize yourself with these in order to practice good gun ownership.

  • Carrying a prohibited weapon: class 2 misdemeanor with 3-12 months in jail and $250-$1000 in fines.
  • Second violation of within 5 years of another violation: class 5 felony with 1-3 years in prison and $1000-$100,000 in fines.
  • Unlawful possession of a weapon by a previous offender: felony with 1-1 ½ years in prison with one year mandatory parole and $1000-$100,000 in fines.
  • First-time possession of a handgun by a juvenile: misdemeanor. Repeated offenses are felonies.

What Is the “Home Rule” Law?

According to the Colorado Constitution, cities and counties within Colorado maintain the right to pass stricter laws or restrictions regarding guns. The “home rule” law allows these local governments to prohibit both open and concealed carry of weapons, as long as proper signage is posted at building entrances and around the area. It does not, however, limit the possession of firearms on private property. Home rule also allows local governments to prohibit the possession of certain types of weapons. A good example of “home rule” in Colorado is the state’s capital, Denver. 

Can I Carry a Weapon Through Colorado National Parks?

National Parks and Forests differ slightly in terms of open carry laws. These are popular destinations for sportsmen and tourists, so naturally these places are full of people who might carry guns for recreational purposes. Below, we outline the restrictions for both National Parks and National Forests.

  • National Parks: Open carrying is prohibited in federal facilities where there are federal employees. Generally, this encompasses national park visitor centers, administrative offices, and maintenance buildings. These buildings are always clearly marked at their entrances.
  • National Forests: These places generally allow firearms. Guests may not discharge weapons within 150 yards of an occupied area, near roads, or in a dangerous manner.

Where Am I Not Allowed to Open Carry in Colorado?

It is important to remember where Colorado open carry laws prohibit possession of firearms. These restrictions are in place mostly for safety reasons, but also due to Colorado’s “home rule” law which we covered above. Below, we list general locations where firearms are prohibited in the state of Colorado.

  • Federal properties such as airports or courthouses.
  • Public transportation facilities. Unloaded guns are allowed, however.
  • Public and private schools and universities.
  • Local businesses or organizations which prohibit firearms. This is at the discretion of these locations, but they must post signage indicating the restrictions at the entrances.
  • Denver, as well as other localities that prohibit open carrying.

Contact Top Denver Weapons Lawyer Jeff Weeden For Colorado Open Carry Laws

A weapon charge can land you in jail for an extended period of time. The sooner you speak to a lawyer, the sooner you can start gathering evidence and other materials necessary to build your defense. No matter what crime you are accused of, we will fight aggressively for your rights. Denver criminal defense attorney Jeff Weeden has the experience to get you through your weapons charges. Contact him at your earliest convenience for a free initial consultation and evaluation of your case, during which he will help you comprehend all of the options available to you. Mr. Weeden is committed to fighting for justice in an effort to have your weapons charge reduced or dismissed, so contact him today at 720-893-3831.

Return to Blog Home