Yes. Under Colorado open carry laws, most adults will be able to openly carry a firearm in the state.
Colorado’s constitution has explicit protection for owning firearms, and only limited classes of people will not be able to either possess a firearm or openly carry it.
Fortunately, to openly carry, you don’t need a license or permit.
Limitations on Openly Carrying a Firearm
Because Colorado has a broad right to openly carry, it makes more sense to identify the small classes of people who cannot openly carry:
● Anyone who cannot own a firearm, such as a convicted felon
● Someone under a protective order prohibiting them from possessing a firearm
● Someone under age 18 if the gun they have is a handgun
There are also places where no one can openly carry:
● Anyone on federal property, such as the post office or the airport
● Anyone on the grounds of a school, college, or university
● Anyone with a loaded firearm in a public transportation facility
● Anyone in a car with a loaded firearm (other than revolver or pistol)
● Anyone on government property in Denver (but not other Colorado cities)
Lastly, there are some limitations on owning a short shotgun, short rifle, or machine gun. No one can own them under Colorado law. As a result, you cannot openly carry them.
Reciprocity and Colorado Open Carry Laws
You might be visiting Colorado from another state and want to bring your firearm with you. However, you need to realize that you can’t openly carry if you are from a state that does not have gun reciprocity with Colorado. Make sure to check before heading to our great state with your gun.
Penalties for Violating Colorado Open Carry Laws
If you break the law on open carry, you should prepare for some penalties. In our experience, we have seen people get caught carrying an illegal weapon or carrying when they were prohibited by the law from doing so.
Your first conviction is for a Colorado Class 2 misdemeanor. You can get a fine between $250 and $2,000 or given 3 to 12 months in jail, or both. The good news is that, even if you are convicted, the crime is only a misdemeanor so you will not be prohibited from owning a firearm in the future.
A second violation in a five-year period is more serious, though. In fact, it is a Colorado Class 5 felony. You can face a fine between $1,000 and $100,000 or 1 to 3 years in jail, or both. You also will have 2 years of mandatory parole. As a felon, you’ll lose your gun rights.
If you have a handgun as a juvenile (under 18), then the crime is a misdemeanor also. However, a second conviction would be a felony.
If you are in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon, then the punishments can be quite severe. You can be convicted of unlawful possession of a weapon by a previous offender under Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-12-108. You are facing up to 3 years in prison and a fine up to $100,000.
Colorado Cities and Home Rule
The home rule doctrine explains why Denver prohibits open carry on its government property although law allows it elsewhere in the state. Essentially, cities are able to pass limits on gun possession even if the state does not. Denver is now prohibiting open carry, which was upheld by a judge.
Other cities in Colorado could also pass laws prohibiting open carry or firearms on government property within the city’s jurisdiction. You should stay abreast of changes to the laws in Colorado’s cities so that you know what you are getting into.
Reach Out to Us with a Question
Did the police recently arrest you for illegally carrying a firearm? You need an experienced criminal defense attorney by your side.
Do not assume that the prosecutor will take things easy on you, especially if you were in possession of a firearm as a convicted felon. Miller Leonard handles many firearm cases and knows the law inside and out.
For help with your case, you should schedule a free consultation by calling 720-613-8783.