Colorado operates on the “Shall Issue” policy at the county level. Permits/Licenses are not usually issued to non-residents however they may obtain a permit if they can demonstrate good cause such as owning a property in Colorado, frequent travel etc. All resident permits are issued by the local county sheriff while the Department of Public Safety handles applications for non-residents. Applicants are required to demonstrate that they are competent with handling a firearm.
Colorado Gun Laws Quick Facts
|Open Carry Permitted?||Yes – Currently there is no specific code indicating that the open carrying of a firearm is illegal. If you’re a resident of Colorado, over the age of 18, and federally allowed to own or possess a firearm then you can open carry. However, it’s important to note that specific counties (like Denver county) are allowed to prohibit the open carrying of a firearm. You will know if these areas don’t allow open carry by the signs posted on the buildings within the county.|
|Carry In Vehicle?||Yes – Colorado doesn’t require you to have a permit to carry your firearm within your vehicle during travel.|
|Carry In State Park?||Yes – Colorado allows for concealed carry within state and national parks so long as the individual has a Colorado concealed carry permit or another concealed carry permit issued by a state that Colorado has a reciprocal relationship with.|
|Carry In Restaurants?||Yes – If you possess a Colorado concealed carry permit, or one that Colorado has a reciprocal relationship with, you may concealed carry within a restaurant or an establishment that serves alcohol so long as you are not intoxicated.|
|Constitutional Carry?||No – Colorado is not a constitutional carry state. In fact, when a constitutional carry law was drafted and put up for vote in 2022 it was struck down 8-5 by the Colorado court.|
|No Weapon Sign Enforced?||No – currently there’s no code indicating a no weapons sign is enforceable by law.|
|Must Notify Officer?||Yes/No – There’s technically no specific law requiring you to inform an officer you’re carrying a firearm. However, the code (18-12-204(2)(a) does make mention that a permit holder must carry the permit, along with a valid photo ID at all times while carrying a firearm and that the individual must be able to produce these documents upon demand by the law enforcement officer. If you fail to produce this document it can result in a class 1 misdemeanor. See below for more specifics.|
Colorado CCW Reciprocity List
States Honoring CCW
States NOT Honoring CCW
Honors These States CCW Permits
How Reciprocity Works In Colorado
Any individual who has a permit to conceal carry in another U.S. state is legally allowed to carry a firearm in Colorado. During their time in Colorado, they will be subject to the laws of the county and state.
Reciprocity Agreements In Colorado
Colorado: Where Is CCW Allowed?
- State parks
- State and national forests
- Road side rest areas
- School, if firearm is left in a locked vehicle.
- All areas of the state, except those listed as Off-Limits
Places Not Allowed
- Public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school
- Secure areas of airports
- Public buildings with fixed security checkpoints such as courthouses
- Snowmobile (permit for predator control required)
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by Federal Law.
Colorado: Conceal Carry Laws
Open carry is legal with a few exceptions. Without a permit you cannot carry on public transport. Also local governments can have regulations preventing open carry in certain buildings or areas. Denver has enacted such regulations banning open carry in the city, this was confirmed as legal in a court case. The Law 29-11.7-704
Carry In Vehicle
If you can lawfully possess a handgun you can carry it in a private vehicle loaded or unloaded, no permit required. Long guns must be unloaded while in a vehicle. Public Transport Without a permit – you cannot carry on public transport such as a bus. With a permit – if you have a valid permit then you are legally entitled to carry a firearm on public transport. The Law 18.12.204
Carry In State Parks
It is legal to carry in the following areas:
State Parks: YES – CRS 18.12.214
State/National Forests: YES – CRS 18.12.214
State Wildlife Management Areas: YES – CRS 18.12.214
Road Side Rest Areas: YES
Carry In Restaurants
In Restaurants That Serve Alcohol In Colorado carrying a firearm into an area that serves alcohol is legal provided you’re not intoxicated. However, legal advice from lawyers advises people not to carry in areas where alcohol is present. The risk of altercations are higher in these areas and even if you were in the right the mere presence of a gun will make such a case harder to defend. Furthermore, possessing a firearm while intoxicated could be another potential charge. So the advice is to leave your firearm in the car if entering an area alcohol is consumed.
No Weapon Signs Enforced
“No Weapons” signs are not mentioned in Colorado concealed carry laws. There are no legal penalties for entering a private property or business that has posted these signs. They have no force of law unless they are posted in areas that are mentioned by the law as being off limits.
Must Notify Officer
As of the writing of this article, Colorado doesn’t require what’s called “duty to inform” which is where you must inform a police officer of your carrying a firearm upon any contact.
However, the law does state that you must carry your permit, together with valid photo identification, at all times during which the permittee is in actual possession of a concealed handgun and shall produce both documents upon demand by a law enforcement officer. Failure to produce a permit upon the demand of a LEO will raise the assumption that you do not own a permit. If this is the case you can be charged with a class 1 misdemeanor. However, you can get this dismissed by the court if your provide a valid permit and photo ID that was issued before the interaction with the LEO before your court date.
The Law 18.12.204