What Are the Penalties for Unlawful Gun Possession in CO?
The penalties will depend on the severity of the charges, and the charges depend on the facts of the case. In general, unlawful possessions of firearms in Colorado will be charged as a:
- Misdemeanor when no aggravating circumstances are involved: For misdemeanor unlawful gun possession charges, a conviction can come with 1 to 3 years of prison time and fines ranging from $1,000 to $100,000.
- Felony when a convicted felon is accused of unlawful gun possession: Upon conviction, these felony charges can bring up to 6 years of prison time, with a similar range of fines.
What Guns Are Legal in Colorado?
Colorado gun laws permit several types of firearms including (but not limited to):
- Handguns, revolvers, and pistols
- Full-length shotguns and rifles
- Antique and relic firearms
What Guns Are Illegal in Colorado?
Firearms deemed by state or federal law to be “dangerous weapons” are prohibited by Colorado law. These include guns and accessories, like (but not limited to):
- Short-barrel shotguns and rifles
- Machine guns
- Silencers and armor-piercing ammo
- Defaced firearms
Where Can I Legally Carry a Gun in Colorado?
If Colorado law does not expressly prohibit you from carrying a firearm, you are legally allowed to do so, carrying legal firearms:
- On your private property
- In your vehicle
- For the purposes of self-defense while traveling
- In national forests and state parks (as long as they abide by all federal regulations that apply)
In contrast, Colorado gun laws do now let people carry firearms:
- In public buildings that have security checkpoints: Courthouses are a prime example.
- On snowmobiles: Guns can only be carried on snowmobiles if the guns are encased and/or unloaded.
Who Can Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon in Colorado?
Concealed carry permits are only available to Colorado residents. Mon-residents must demonstrate strong cause and sufficient need in order for state authorities to grant one.
In addition to meeting the residency requirements, those who want a permit for carrying a concealed weapon (CCW) in Colorado must also be at least 21 and:
- Not barred from possessing a firearm under federal or state law
- Not have a history of perjury on CCW permit applications
- Not be a habitual alcohol user or addicted to controlled substances
- Not be subjected to a protection order prohibiting the possession of firearms
- Provide proof of completing the required firearms safety course
Here, it’s also crucial to note that the Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) allows law enforcement officials to carry concealed weapons in places where local or state laws previously prohibited them (under the Gun Control Act of 1968).
What Are Other Common Gun Laws & Charges in Colorado?
Along with firearm possession statutes, Colorado gun laws also include (and are not limited to) the following. Click on the links below to learn more about each of these gun laws in Colorado, along with the charges and potential penalties associated with violating these statutes.
- Open Carry Laws: Colorado is an open carry state, meaning it is generally legal to openly carry a firearm in the state, with some exceptions—including certain prohibitions for illegal weapons, convicted felons, and more.
- Concealed Carry Permits: Colorado CCW permits can be obtained through local sheriff’s departments for those who fulfill the necessary qualifications. While there are strict rules for renewals, there are also certain restrictions that apply, both to the issuance of CCW permits and to CCW permit holders themselves.
- Concealed Weapon Laws: The laws about carrying concealed weapons in Colorado are clear and strict. Violating these laws can result in serious misdemeanor and felony charges, depending on the circumstances and whether the defendant has prior convictions. As serious as these charges can be, however, there can be various ways to defend against them.
- Juvenile Possession of a Gun: Minors are legally allowed to possess handguns when they have their legal guardian’s permission and they are in specific locations. Outside of those conditions, minors can face misdemeanor or felony charges of handgun possession. While a conviction of these charges can lead to incarceration and fines for juveniles, the penalties can get much harsher if juveniles are charged as adults.
- Stun Gun Laws: In Colorado, it’s generally legal for individuals over the age of 18 to buy, sell, own, and use stun guns, including portable devices, stun belts, and long-range tasers. When, however, a stun gun is possessed by a felon, a fugitive, or used in the commission of a crime, serious felony charges can be filed.
- Possession of Weapon by Previous Offender (POWPO): Previous offenders, including juveniles and adults, will face felony-level charges for possessing weapons like firearms and certain knives. In fact, POWPO charges can come into play even if a weapon cannot be fired or a previous conviction was for certain misdemeanor offenses, like domestic violence.
- Possession of a Loaded Firearm in a Motor Vehicle: Coloradans can generally carry loaded rifles and pistols in their vehicles as long as they are 18 or older and they are not legally prohibited from possessing a gun. For those who do want to transport any type of firearm in a vehicle within Colorado, here is what you need to know about the firearms that can and cannot be loaded—and when you must submit to an inspection by law enforcement.
- Possession of Illegal Weapon: Nunchakus, throwing stars, and bows and arrows are some of the weapons that you cannot discharge at (or use against) another individual, according to Colorado weapons laws. Firearms can also fall into this category when they are not being used for self-defense.
- Unlawful Purchase of a Firearm: Obtaining and transferring a firearm to someone who is not legally allowed to possess it is against the law in Colorado. While felony charges can be filed against those accused of giving firearms to felons and other prohibited individuals, licensed gun dealers can also face a class 2 petty offense if they fail to post clear, visible signs regarding this gun law.
The experienced Colorado Springs gun defense lawyers at Anaya & Chadderdon, P.C. have deep knowledge of Colorado gun laws and how to defend people against various weapons charges.
Get More Answers About Gun Laws & Defending Against Gun Charges in Colorado 30+
If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun offense in Colorado, contact a 5-star criminal defense attorney at Anaya & Chadderdon, P.C. As former prosecutors with decades of criminal trial experience, we are highly effective at anticipating the prosecution’s tactics to craft strong, strategic defense cases for all types of gun and weapons charges.
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