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Colorado Open Carry: Laws, Requirements, Application & Online Training

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Colorado allows open carry of firearms in the state according to the law of freedom of expression and to defend life and liberty.

Therefore, you can acquire, possess, and make use of a firearm for self-defense and protection of your property.

To buy a firearm, you must complete the NICS background check and must be at least twenty-one years old.

If you intend to carry a handgun in Colorado openly, you must know the state laws related to the possession of firearms, the types of guns allowed, and location restriction.

Colorado Gun Law Summary

In Colorado, the office of a sheriff in the local county is responsible for issuing gun permits.

The state is a shall-issue state; therefore, if you meet all gun requirements, you will get your permits.

You must also pass a firearm demonstration, after obtaining training through a licensed instructor in the state. 

To buy a firearm for Colorado open carry, you do not need a purchase permit.

But you must complete the mandatory criminal record background check.

After completing the check, you will get a purchase and transfer approval from the state’s Bureau of Investigation.

Only after this process will you be able to buy a firearm.

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Is Open Carry Legal In Colorado?

Yes, open carry is legal in Colorado.

As long as you meet the minimum age requirement of eighteen years old, without any past legal issue, you can become a legal possessor of a firearm in the state; then, you can open carry.

However, open carry is not allowed in all counties in Colorado. A good example is Denver county.

Also, municipalities and counties can enact local laws to prohibit open carrying in some areas and locations.

So regardless of Colorado's open carry legality, you must obey local government rules and regulations as well

Colorado Open Carry Laws

Colorado is a permissive open carry with local restrictions states. 

This implies that the state permits open carry with a license, but still has other municipality restrictions like location restrictions and types of firearms to carry within a local government area.

The state also has regulations on the type of guns used for open carry.

In Colorado, you can open carry without a permit, but this is not the same for concealed carry in the state.

Local governments in the state restrict open carry in places like home buildings and law enforcement agencies, with a post to display the prohibition.

The only exception is the City of Denver. The City of Denver prohibits open carry in all parts of the city. It has the backing of the state’s supreme court, despite the legislative law to enact a uniform open carry policy in the state.

Colorado Open Gun Law Quick Overview

Law/PolicyLong GunsHandgunsComments
State permit for open carry.No permitNo permitYou do not require a permit for the open carry of any firearm in Colorado
Firearm registrations for open carry.NoNoThere is no firearm registration for open carry.
Assault weapon for open carry.NoNoCounties in Colorado do not allow open carry with an assault weapon.
Magazine limitYesYesOn July first twenty-thirteen, Colorado banned firearms with a high-capacity magazine limit of more than fifteen rounds.
License for the owner of a firearm.Not requiredNot requiredThere is no need for a licensed firearm for open carry
Red flag lawYesYesThe state’s police can submit a petition to a law court if they think that someone that possesses a firearm is a threat to himself of anyone living in the house.
Castle doctrine lawYesYesColorado adopts a castle doctrine policy as a form of self-defense for anyone in their home of residence or where they have legal rights to be.
Background check for private dealersYesYesA private dealer must conduct a background check through the licensed dealers in the state. The transfer of firearms is highly restricted.
PreemptionYesYesThe state has a partial preemption policy. Denver that restricts weapons and open carry in general.
Concealed carry permit.NoYesColorado has a shall-issue policy for concealed carry in the state, issued at the local county level by the sheriff.
Concealed carry in personal vehicleYesYesYou can conceal carry in your vehicle.
Open carry in SchoolsNoNoYou cannot possess your firearm within school premises in Colorado

Where Is It Legal To Open Carry In Colorado

There are various location restrictions that local governments in Colorado can adopt to keep their residents safe.

However, according to open carry Colorado, you can conceal carry in the following areas and situations.

  • Restaurants and Bar areas: You can openly carry a firearm in restaurant areas as long as you are not under the influence of alcohol, and no post prohibits the possession of weapons.
  • Personal vehicle: You can open carry in your vehicle, but the firearm must be in plain view at all times.
  • Roadsides: You can open carry along roadside areas in Colorado.
  • State forests and parks: You can open carry in parks while hunting in forests and wildlife management areas as long as you have permission from the authority in charge.
  • Public transportation: You can open carry in public transports.
  • Worship Places: You can open carry in churches, mosques, and synagogues, except if there is signage to restrict the possession of firearms in the premises.

Where Is It Illegal To Open Carry In Colorado?

Open carry Colorado is not legal in all places. Areas, where the state law restricts you from open carry or possession of firearms, include the following:

  • Schools: You cannot open carry or possess your firearm in elementary, junior, or high schools. If you are with your gun on school premises, keep them locked in your vehicle, away from plain view.
  • Public buildings: You cannot open carry in buildings used for general activities in the state, such as courthouses, especially if they have security posts.
  • Airport Safety Zones: You cannot open carry in safety zones or secured areas of airports and their terminals.
  • Prohibited areas: You cannot open carry anywhere federal laws prohibit the possession of a firearm in the country.

FAQs About Open Carry Colorado

Here are some frequently asked questions about open carry Colorado.

Do I Need A Permit For Open Carry In Colorado?

Colorado only issues a permit for concealed carry.

As long as you are eighteen years old or more, you can open carry without a permit?

Can Police Stop Me For Open Carry In Colorado?

Except you are illegally handling your firearm, police cannot stop you during Colorado open carry.

What Is The Required Age To Buy A Firearm In Colorado?

You must be at least twenty-one years old to purchase a firearm in Colorado.

Do I Need To Undergo Criminal Background Check To Open Carry In Colorado?

No, you only need a criminal record background check to buy a firearm or obtain a permit.

Can I Open Carry In Places With “No Display” Signs?

No, you can only conceal carry in places with these signs.

Can I Possess My Firearm With A Permit Within School Premises?

You cannot open carry with or without a permit in Colorado schools; it is a felony act.

Can I Buy A Firearm For Someone Who Prohibited From Firearm Purchase In Colorado?

The law refers to this as a straw purchase. It is an unlawful act.

How Can I Restore My Civil Right To Purchase Firearms After A Felony Conviction In Colorado?

You can only do this by getting a pardon from the state governor.

Can I Sell My Firearm To Someone Without Doing A Background Check? 

Except you are transferring the firearm to a family member, you must conduct a background check through a federally licensed seller.

What Can I Do After A Denied Purchase Of Firearms?

Request for an appeal form through the dealer, fill it and submit to the CBI. 

Note that the CBI will not provide any reasons for a denied purchase via phone call.

Where Can I Register My Firearm In Colorado?

There are no requirements to register firearms in Colorado.

If I Committed A Felony Crime As A Juvenile, Can I Still Purchase A Firearm In Colorado?

Except the crime is expunged, you cannot buy a firearm if you commit any crime, which, as an adult, will make you a felon.

Relevant Open Carry Law And Legislature In The State

Here is a list of some of Colorado's open-carry gun laws.

Magazine Limit

The magazine limit, while open carrying in Colorado, is fifteen rounds.

In Colorado, it is unlawful for you to possess, sell, or transfer a magazine with high capacity.

The state defines a firearm with a high limit as one that has more than fifteen rounds of magazines.

The only exception to this policy is if you have had such a firearm in your possession before July 2013, and you have maintained it over the years.

Also, you can use firearms with a twenty-two caliber ammunition for open carry.

In the city of Boulder, you can possess a firearm with more than ten-round magazine limits.

Preemption Law In Colorado

Colorado has a partial preemption law.

Local governments and municipalities can choose to limit open carry within their jurisdiction.

However, local governments do not have a say in gun laws that have to do with regulations, the prohibition of sales, or possession of firearms according to federal statutes.

Also, local laws cannot restrict the transportation of firearms in a private car or any other means with which you move the gun.

Red Flag Laws In Colorado

Colorado adopts red flag laws in the state.   

This law allows any law enforcement agency or family members to submit a red flag petition to the law court.

If the court deems it fit that such a person is a threat to himself/herself or others, the court can give an order to restrict the person from the temporary possession of firearms for at least one year.

Brandishing Of Firearms In Colorado

Even though Colorado allows open carry, you cannot brandish your firearm recklessly in the state.

If you intentionally and recklessly discharge your firearm or brandish it at another person, you will get a charge for misconduct.

Exceptions to these laws are when you legally use the firearm for a live-fire session, target practice, or any professional shooting competition in the state.

Open Carry While Under The Influence

You cannot open carry under the influence of alcohol, drugs, intoxicator, or any other substance under the control of the Drug Law Enforcement Agency in the state.

This also includes precursors such as cannabinoids, marijuana, cocaine, heroin, etc.

People Who Cannot Open Carry In Colorado

  • You cannot open carry if you are under the age limit of eighteen years old.
  • You cannot possess a firearm in the state if you are a felon.
  • You cannot open carry in the state if you have a protection order from a law court that prohibits you from handling a firearm.
  • You cannot open carry a machine gun, a short rifle, or shotgun in Colorado.
  • You cannot open carry when you are on a federal property of the state, such as a courthouse, a post office, etc.
  • You cannot open carry if your firearm is loaded, and you are in public mass transit.
  • You cannot open carry if you are on school, college, and university grounds, both privately and publicly owned.
  • You cannot open carry anywhere within the limit of the county of Denver.

Gun Law Violations In Open Carry

There are no punishments for open carry in Colorado because it is legal. Except if you open carry your firearm in a restricted place, or you possess a firearm that the state prohibits.

For the first violation of approved firearms in Colorado, you will get a class two misdemeanor charge.

The punishment for a Colorado class two misdemeanor charge is a jail sentence of within three to twelve months and/or a fine within the amounts of twenty-five dollars to a thousand dollars

For a second violation of state-approved firearms, you will get a class five felony charge.

The punishment for this is a jail sentence of one to three years with a compulsory two years for parole, and/or a fine between a thousand dollars to a hundred thousand dollars.

For unlawful firearm possession by a previous offender, the punishment is twelve months to eighteen months jail term and/or fine of a thousand dollars to a hundred thousand dollars.

Open Carry While Hunting In Colorado

You can open carry in Colorado for hunting activities, and you do not need a permit to do this as long as you have legal rights to own the firearm.

Harassment Law For Hunting While Open Carry

It is unlawful to interfere with the activities of a hunter in Colorado if the hunter has legal rights to operate within the state.

If you involve in any of the following, you might be held in contempt of the law:

  • You act with the intention to alert or pursue prey.
  • You intentionally disturb someone who has the legal right and permission to indulge in hunting, trapping, and fishing activities.
  • You build barriers that restrict the movement of any legal hunting activity in any area of Colorado.
  • You stop the activity of hunting by walking into a hunter’s fire line.
  • You indulge in any other activity that affects or disrupts any legal hunting activity. 
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