Colorado has a relatively permissive attitude to gun ownership, due in large part to its western heritage and vibrant hunting culture. With a concealed carry permit, a gun owner is free to carry a legally-allowed weapon on his or her person, or to transport a gun in a vehicle. He or she can also possess a gun in a restaurant, bar, or business, provided that the owner of the establishment has not expressly forbidden the practice. Permit holders can even carry a gun openly, except in Denver.
However, gun owners do face some restrictions. For example, carrying a gun without a concealed carry permit is a Class 2 misdemeanor with potential penalties of 3-12 months in jail and a fine of up to $1,000. There are far stiffer penalties for carrying in other locations such as on school grounds or in certain other areas.
Violation of Colorado gun laws
Despite the fact that Article II, Section 13 of Colorado's constitution protects the right to bear arms, those rights are not absolute. There are many ways by which knowledgeable and otherwise law-abiding gun owners can get in trouble with the law. For example:
- Carrying a gun on school grounds is a felony, even for permit holders. However, you can keep a gun in your vehicle in the parking lot, provided that the gun is in a compartment and the vehicle is locked.
- Possession of a gun while under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
- You can transport a gun in your car, but it must be unloaded.
- Knowingly aiming a firearm at another person is a Class 2 misdemeanor.
- It's illegal for someone under the age of 18 to be in possession of a firearm. However, a minor can possess:
- While on a shooting range
- While on a parent's property, as long as the parent knows about the possession
- While taking a gun safety course
- When the juvenile is hunting
- When the juvenile is defending himself or herself against an intruder
Gun owners should take time to understand the many laws that regulate the possession and use of firearms. The El Paso County Sheriff's office has published an informative pamphlet that provides additional information about gun laws in Colorado.
If you have been arrested for violating one of Colorado's gun laws, remember that there are defenses to every criminal charge. Speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible.