“The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person and property, or in aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.”


Colorado is a shall-issue state where concealed carry permits are issued. No purchase permits or firearms registration are required for handguns. For private-party transfers of firearms, the seller must request that a licensed dealer perform a background check of the buyer and must get approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Open carry is legal in Colorado for any person who is at least 18 years old, except in Denver county and other posted areas. Concealed carry is legal in Colorado for residents CCW and non-residents with a CCW permit from a state that Colorado honors. CCW permits can be issued to any resident at least 21 years old. Colorado is a Castle Doctrine state. There is no duty to retreat. There is a duty to retreat outside a person’s residence. Any occupant of a dwelling using justified deadly physical force shall be immune from criminal prosecution.

Reciprocal Carry

By statute, Colorado will recognize another state’s license to carry if that state recognizes Colorado’s license.

Since there is no national carry license: some states are reciprocal with Colorado, some are not. Anyone contemplating reciprocal carry should check with the official list maintained by the Colorado State Police at the point in time the reciprocal carry is to occur.

Duty To Notify Police Officer

Colorado does not require individuals to inform a LEO of a permit or license to carry but if an Officer asks about a weapon, by law, an answer must be supplied. You must carry Your permit, together with valid photo identification, at all times that you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun. You must produce both documents upon demand by a LEO.

Carrying Firearms In Vehicles

Colorado allows anyone who may legally own a firearm to carry a concealed firearm in an automobile or other form of private conveyance, even without a permit. If carrying a long gun, there cannot be a round in the chamber.

NFA Items

Colorado permits ownership of all NFA items, provided they are legally obtained pursuant to federal law. Hunting with suppressors is currently legal.

Self-Defense Laws

Colorado has a Castle Doctrine but no SYG law. There is no duty to retreat when attacked in a dwelling (it doesn’t have to be Your dwelling, as long as You have permission to be there), and You may use deadly force in self-defense against someone who unlawfully enters that dwelling, if You reasonably believe the intruder has or is about to commit a crime in the dwelling in addition to unlawful entry, or the intruder intends to commit a crime against person or property in addition to unlawful entry, or that the intruder intends to use force (however slight) against an occupant of the dwelling.

Carry In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol

There is no law stating it is illegal. You can carry in a restaurant that serves alcohol. Places like Fridays or Chili’s unless they have a “No Gun Sign,” then it is suggested that You not carry into the establishment. This does not include a bar or the bar area of a restaurant. You can carry your firearm into a restaurant that serves alcohol, but you are prohibited from consuming alcohol while carrying a firearm.

Do “No Gun Signs” Have The Force Of Law?

“No Firearm” signs in Colorado do not have the force of law unless they are posted on property that is specifically mentioned in State Law as being off limits to those with a permit/license to carry. However, as a possessor with a real property interest, a retailer, has the right to limit, and qualify the right to enter the property, subject to not carrying a handgun. It would be improper to enter, and the licensee would be subject to ejection for possession of a handgun thereat. Failure to leave once requested would subject the licensee to arrest for criminal trespass.

Open Carry

Colorado allows the open carry of firearms without a permit, however local governments can restrict or ban open carry. The city of Denver does not allow open carry.

High Capacity Magazine Ban

Colorado bans the sale, transfer, and possession of magazines capable of holding more than fifteen (15) rounds. Internal tube/helical magazines for .22 firearms and internal tube/helical magazines for lever action guns are not considered high-capacity magazines, even if capable of holding more than 15 rounds. High-capacity magazines that were legally owned before 7/1/13 are grandfathered in and may be kept and used, but not sold or transferred.

Universal Background Checks

Colorado requires that all firearm sales, even between private parties, go through a FFL who must conduct a background check. For a private party transfer, You must get approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. Transfers of antique firearms, bona-fide gifts or loans from immediate family members, and transfers to estate executors or trustees are exempt. Temporary transfers are strictly regulated.

DISCLAIMER: The Gun Laws by State Guide (GLBSG) was created to provide its readers with a general educational resource tool to explore the pertinent gun laws in Your jurisdiction.

However, the GLBSG was not researched and/or written by attorneys as a specific legal guide to rely upon. Instead, it is a starting point for your own research. In addition, all laws are always subject to reasonable, but different, legal interpretation as to meaning and application.

As such, the GLBSG is not intended to supplant, nor limit, Your need for independent verification of any and all material contained herein and consultation with competent counsel of choice regarding any specific issues.

This type of specific legal analysis is necessarily beyond the general educational objective of the GLBSG and for which a bar-admitted attorney in the particular state(s) is needed and required. The content of this GLBSG is a general restatement of the law.

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