Colorado Gun Laws

Learn about gun control laws, gun permit requirements, and penalties in Colorado.

In Colorado, adults may purchase a gun and openly carry firearms without a permit. However, you must obtain a concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed gun on (or near) your body. (Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-214.) For more information, see Open and Concealed Gun Carrying Laws in Colorado.

How to Obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit in Colorado

To obtain a concealed handgun permit you must apply at the sheriff’s office in the county where you reside. To qualify, you must:

  • be at least 21 years old
  • be a legal resident of Colorado
  • be eligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law, and
  • demonstrate competence with a handgun.

You must not:

  • have been convicted of perjury related to information provided on a permit application for a concealed handgun license
  • chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that that your faculties are impaired (unless you are a recovering alcoholic and can provide certification from a professional addiction counselor)
  • be subject to a temporary or permanent protection order, and
  • be addicted to controlled substances.

Even if an applicant meets the criteria specified above, the sheriff has the discretion to deny a license to a person whose previous behavior makes it likely that they will present a danger to themselves or others if the license is granted. Additionally, a license is revocable after issuance if there is a reasonable belief a person no longer meets the qualifying criteria. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Code § 18-12-203.) A permit is valid for five years and may be renewed. (Colo. Rev. Stat. Code § 18-12-204.)

Does Colorado Recognize Concealed Handgun Permits From Other States?

Yes. Colorado recognizes out-of-state licenses, as long the reciprocal state recognizes Colorado concealed carry permits, and the permit holder is at least 21 years old, and is a resident of the reciprocal state or of Colorado for not more than 90 days.

(Colo. Rev. Code Ann. § 18-12-213.)

Penalties for Failing to Obtain a Concealed Handgun Permit

It is a class 2 misdemeanor to carry a concealed handgun in Colorado without a concealed carry permit. (Colo. Rev. Code Ann. § 18-12-105.) Penalties include a fine of up between $250 and $1,000, between three months and one year in jail, or both.

It is a class 5 felony if you are convicted of carrying a concealed handgun without a permit for a second or subsequent time within five years of a first conviction. (Colo. Rev. Code Ann. § 18-12-107.) Penalties include a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, between one year and 18 months in prison, or both.

Getting Legal Help

If you have any questions about whether you are allowed to carry a gun in Colorado, or if you are facing charges for a gun permit violation, consult a qualified criminal defense lawyer.

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