Understanding Open Carry Laws in Colorado
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution is one of the most hotly debated political issues of our time. In order to achieve a balance between parties who want to be able to own any firearm they like and parties who think any gun will cause gun violence, each state has established its own set of gun laws, rules, and regulations. If you are a gun owner in Colorado, you need to know the ins and outs of the state’s carry laws, or else you could find yourself slammed with serious weapons charges.
Overview of Colorado Gun Laws
Most adults in Colorado can legally purchase and openly carry a firearm without a permit, registration, or license. Certain cities and counties do have a variance of this rule, though. For example, you cannot openly carry a firearm in Denver due to a change to its legislation in 2004. A concealed carry permit is valid for five years, after which it must be renewed.
If you want to carry a concealed firearm on or near your person in Colorado, though, you will need a concealed handgun permit. Keep in mind that a concealed carry permit does not allow a gun owner to use their weapon in any way that violates state or federal law, such as using it to intimidate, harm, or incite someone.
Who Cannot Obtain a Firearm or Permit in Colorado
Colorado also has statutes that disqualify a number of individuals from purchasing, owning, and/or carrying a concealed firearm based on preexisting legal conditions. The right to own a gun can also be revoked through a court’s order at any time it is legally permissible as a penalty. Your right to gun ownership can also be suspended if there is a reasonable suspicion that you no longer meet qualifying criteria.
You cannot obtain a concealed carry permit if you:
- Have been convicted of perjury related to information provided on an application for a concealed handgun license.
- Habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that your faculties are impaired. This prohibition does not extend to recovering alcoholics, provided they can obtain certification from a professional drug counselor.
- Are subject to a temporary or permanent protection order.
- Are addicted to a controlled substance.
It should be noted that even if someone meets the requirements listed above, the county sheriff’s office has the discretion to deny an individual a permit. Your county sheriff may exercise this right if they believe your past behavior indicates you may present a danger to yourself or others while in possession of a firearm.
When Firearms are Strictly Prohibited
Regardless of an individual’s permits, there are a number of circumstances where it is prohibited to carry any kind of firearm, concealed or openly:
- On school premises.
- In a vehicle, unless the firearm is unloaded or is a handgun.
- Any place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.
- In certain government buildings.
Carrying a firearm whenever it is illegal to do so will open you up to a variety of strict criminal punishments. It is a Class 2 misdemeanor to carry a concealed handgun without a permit in Colorado, punishable by 3 to 12 months in jail and a fine up to $1,000. A second or subsequent conviction of carrying a handgun without a valid permit will be charged as a Class 5 felony. The penalties may include a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000 and up to 18 months’ imprisonment.
If you have been arrested on a weapons charge in Colorado, it is imperative to retain the services of a gun crimes attorney who will take your case seriously and do everything to protect you from harsh consequences, such as the removal of your Second Amendment rights. At the Law Office of Kevin Cahill, you can work with an award-winning Denver criminal defense lawyer with thousands of cases managed throughout his career. Put that caliber of defense in your corner today by contacting our firm for a complimentary consultation.