Firearm FAQs

Are Colorado residents required to register their firearms?

State law prohibits firearms registration by local or state government (the federal Brady Act is another matter, though that's not "claimed" to be registration). As is often the case, there is a catch. Colorado has an unusual state constitution, which gives some cities co-equal power to legislate over certain items, with the State Legislature. These are so-called home rule cities. Denver is a home rule city, and sued over this firearms pre-emption effort the legislature passed. In the case City & County of Denver v. State of Colorado, 03-CV-3809, the Denver District Court partially excluded some Denver ordinances from being pre-empted. http://www.courts.state.co.us/Media/Opinion_Docs/03cv3809order.pdf. The decision was appealed to the Colorado Supreme Court, which upheld the trial court decision because it split 3 to 3 on whether to affirm or reverse the decision. See http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/opinions/2004/04SA396and05SA22.pdf

As a result Denver still maintains a number of gun control ordinances, including requiring a registry of all firearms purchased in Denver. Denver does not require registration of firearms possessed in the city. Denver had required that a copy of the registry for purchases in the city be sent to the city, but repealed that ordinance. See R.M.C. section 38-123 for the purchase registration requirement.

C.R.S. Section 29-11.7-103. Regulation - type of firearm - prohibited

A local government may not enact an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the sale, purchase, or possession of a firearm that a person may lawfully sell, purchase, or possess under state or federal law. Any such ordinance, regulation, or other law enacted by a local government prior to March 18, 2003, is void and unenforceable.

C.R.S. Section 29-11.7-102. Firearms database - prohibited

(1) A local government, including a law enforcement agency, shall not maintain a list or other form of record or database of:
(a) Persons who purchase or exchange firearms or who leave firearms for repair or sale on consignment;
(b) Persons who transfer firearms, unless the persons are federally licensed firearms dealers;
(c) The descriptions, including serial numbers, of firearms purchased, transferred, exchanged, or left for repair or sale on consignment
.

Denver Revised Municipal Code Sec. 38-123. Identification and records concerning sales, etc.

(a) Every person who sells, rents or exchanges at retail any weapon designated in sections 38-117 or 38-122 shall require the vendee, lessee or person with whom such exchange is made to furnish more than one (1) type of identification before such sale, rental or exchange is consummated.

(b) Every person engaged in the sale, rental or exchange at retail of any weapon designated in sections 38-117 or 38-122 shall keep a record of each such weapon so sold, rented or exchanged at retail and of the vendee or lessee thereof, or person with whom such exchange is made; said record shall at all times be open to inspection by the manager of safety or a duly authorized agent, or by any police officer of the city and shall be made at the time of each such transaction in a book kept for that purpose, and shall include:

(1) The name of the person to whom such weapon is sold or rented, or with whom it is exchanged;

(2) The age of such person;

(3) The occupation of such person;

(4) The residence and, if residing in a city, the street and street number of the residence of such person;

(5) The make, caliber if any, and finish of the weapon so sold, rented or exchanged, and the number or serial number thereof, if any;

(6) The date of the sale, rental or exchange of such weapon;

(7) The name of the employee or other person making such sale, rental or exchange of such weapon; and

(8) A description of each of the types of identification furnished by the vendee, lessee or person with whom such exchange is made, together with any serial numbers or other distinctive features noted in or appearing on each such type of identification so furnished.

(c) It shall be unlawful for any person who purchases, rents or exchanges any weapon designated in sections 38-117 or 38-122 to give a false or fictitious name, or any other false, fraudulent or incorrect information to the person from whom such weapon is purchased, or rented, or with whom such weapon is exchanged at the time such purchase, rental or exchange is made.

  1. What is required when I bring firearms from another state?
  2. There are no restrictions on bringing lawfully owned firearms into Colorado. However certain ammunition magazines are prohibited, even if the firearm they fit is legal here. The statute exempts otherwise prohibited magazines that were owned as of July 1, 2013 by their current owner. The statute does not require that the magazine had to be owned by its current owner within Colorado on July 1, 2013; the owner could have resided outside the state at that time. Generally speaking magazines that hold over 15 rounds of rifle or pistol ammunition are prohibited, as are shotgun magazines that hold over 8 rounds.

The prohibited magazines are defined as :”(I) A fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that is designed to be readily converted to accept, more than fifteen rounds of ammunition; (II) A fixed, tubular shotgun magazine that holds more than twenty-eight inches of shotgun shells, including any extension device that is attached to the magazine and holds additional shotgun shells; or (III) A nontubular, detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device that is capable of accepting more than eight shotgun shells when combined with a fixed magazine.”
Specifically excluded from the definition are :”(I) A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than fifteen rounds of ammunition; (II) An attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 caliber rimfire ammunition; or (III) A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.”

CRS section 18-12-302. Large-capacity magazines prohibited - penalties - exceptions
(1) (a) Except as otherwise provided in this section, on and after July 1, 2013, a person who sells, transfers, or possesses a large-capacity magazine commits a class 2 misdemeanor.
(b) Any person who violates subsection (1) of this section after having been convicted of a prior violation of said subsection (1) commits a class 1 misdemeanor.
(c) Any person who violates this subsection (1) commits a class 6 felony if the person possessed a large-capacity magazine during the commission of a felony or any crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406.
(2) (a) A person may possess a large-capacity magazine if he or she:
(I) Owns the large-capacity magazine on July 1, 2013; and
(II) Maintains continuous possession of the large-capacity magazine.
(b) If a person who is alleged to have violated subsection (1) of this section asserts that he or she is permitted to legally possess a large-capacity magazine pursuant to paragraph (a) of this subsection (2), the prosecution has the burden of proof to refute the assertion.
(3) The offense described in subsection (1) of this section shall not apply to:
(a) An entity, or any employee thereof engaged in his or her employment duties, that manufactures large-capacity magazines within Colorado exclusively for transfer to, or any licensed gun dealer, as defined in section 12-26.1-106 (6), C.R.S., or any employee thereof engaged in his or her official employment duties, that sells large-capacity magazines exclusively to:
(I) A branch of the armed forces of the United States;
(II) A department, agency, or political subdivision of the state of Colorado, or of any other state, or of the United States government;
(III) A firearms retailer for the purpose of firearms sales conducted outside the state;
(IV) A foreign national government that has been approved for such transfers by the United States government; or
(V) An out-of-state transferee who may legally possess a large-capacity magazine; or
(b) An employee of any of the following agencies who bears a firearm in the course of his or her official duties:
(I) A branch of the armed forces of the United States; or
(II) A department, agency, or political subdivision of the state of Colorado, or of any other state, or of the United States government; or
(c) A person who possesses the magazine for the sole purpose of transporting the magazine to an out-of-state entity on behalf of a manufacturer of large-capacity magazines within Colorado.

Does Colorado Have Safe Storage or “Lock Up Your Safety” Laws?

No, Colorado has no laws requiring firearms or ammunition be locked up or stored a certain way. Some municipalities, like Denver, do. As discussed above, the effort at pre-empting these laws was not successful.

Denver Sec. 38-131. Unlawful storage of firearms.

(a) As used in this section, the following definitions shall apply:

(1) Firearm means a pistol, revolver, rifle, shotgun, machine gun, air gun, gas operated gun, or spring gun.

(2) Locked container means a secure container which is enclosed on all sides and locked by a padlock, key lock, combination lock or similar device.

(3) Locking device means a device which temporarily prevents the firearm from functioning.

(4) Minor means a person who has not reached his or her eighteenth birthday.

(b) It shall be unlawful for any person to store, control or possess any firearm within or upon any premises of which that person has an ownership interest, custody or control, in such a manner that that person knows, or should know, that a minor is likely to gain possession of the firearm and in the event that the minor does, in fact, obtain possession of the firearm.

(c) Subsection (b) shall not apply whenever any of the following occurs:

(1) The minor obtains the firearm as a result of an illegal entry to the premises.

(2) The firearm is kept in a locked container, access to which is not available to a minor.

(3) The firearm is equipped with, and has in place, a locking device, the means of removal of which is not available to a minor.

(4) The minor obtains the firearm in a lawful act of self-defense, or defense of the minor's home or property.

(5) The minor obtains the firearm during the course of, or incidental to, being legally summoned to the aid of a Colorado peace officer or a member of the United States armed forces or the Colorado National Guard in the performance of their duties.

Is it legal for a private citizen to sell a firearm to another private citizen in Colorado?

Yes, however such a sale is required to be done through a licensed firearms dealer. That dealer is to conduct a background check of the prospective purchaser, and is authorized to charge a fee of not more than $10 for the service (on top of the $10 fee the State currently charges for the check itself). The prospective purchaser must complete ATF Form 4473. If the prospective purchaser fails the background check the sale may not go through. The proper way to conduct this transaction is for the dealer to not enter the firearm into his records until the purchaser passes the background check. That way if the purchaser fails the check, the firearm is retained by the seller. If the firearm is immediately entered into the dealer’s inventory a background check is required for the dealer to return the firearm to the seller, should the purchaser’s background check not be approved.

 

Excepted from this requirement are private sales of antique firearms, private sales of firearms treated as curios or relics under Federal law (which includes all firearms which are at least 50 years old), and gifts between immediate family members defined as spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles.

If the prospective purchaser is ineligible to purchase the firearm from a dealer (is under the age of 21 for a handgun, or 18 for a long gun) the dealer cannot legally complete the sale, as the transaction must be legal under Federal law governing licensed dealers. 

18-12-112. Private firearms transfers - background check required - penalty - definitions

(1) (a) On and after July 1, 2013, except as described in subsection (6) of this section, before any person who is not a licensed gun dealer, as defined in section 12-26.1-106 (6), C.R.S., transfers or attempts to transfer possession of a firearm to a transferee, he or she shall:

(I) Require that a background check, in accordance with section 24-33.5-424, C.R.S., be conducted of the prospective transferee; and

(II) Obtain approval of a transfer from the bureau after a background check has been requested by a licensed gun dealer, in accordance with section 24-33.5-424, C.R.S.

(b) As used in this section, unless the context requires otherwise, "transferee" means a person who desires to receive or acquire a firearm from a transferor. If a transferee is not a natural person, then each natural person who is authorized by the transferee to possess the firearm after the transfer shall undergo a background check, as described in paragraph (a) of this subsection (1), before taking possession of the firearm.

(2) (a) A prospective firearm transferor who is not a licensed gun dealer shall arrange for a licensed gun dealer to obtain the background check required by this section.

(b) A licensed gun dealer who obtains a background check on a prospective transferee shall record the transfer, as provided in section 12-26-102, C.R.S., and retain the records, as provided in section 12-26-103, C.R.S., in the same manner as when conducting a sale, rental, or exchange at retail. The licensed gun dealer shall comply with all state and federal laws, including 18 U.S.C. sec. 922, as if he or she were transferring the firearm from his or her inventory to the prospective transferee.

(c) A licensed gun dealer who obtains a background check for a prospective firearm transferor pursuant to this section shall provide the firearm transferor and transferee a copy of the results of the background check, including the bureau's approval or disapproval of the transfer.

(d) A licensed gun dealer may charge a fee for services rendered pursuant to this section, which fee shall not exceed ten dollars.

(3) (a) A prospective firearm transferee under this section shall not accept possession of the firearm unless the prospective firearm transferor has obtained approval of the transfer from the bureau after a background check has been requested by a licensed gun dealer, as described in paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section.

(b) A prospective firearm transferee shall not knowingly provide false information to a prospective firearm transferor or to a licensed gun dealer for the purpose of acquiring a firearm.

(4) If the bureau approves a transfer of a firearm pursuant to this section, the approval shall be valid for thirty calendar days, during which time the transferor and transferee may complete the transfer.

(5) A person who transfers a firearm in violation of the provisions of this section may be jointly and severally liable for any civil damages proximately caused by the transferee's subsequent use of the firearm.

(6) The provisions of this section do not apply to:

(a) A transfer of an antique firearm, as defined in 18 U.S.C. sec. 921(a) (16), as amended, or a curio or relic, as defined in 27 CFR 478.11, as amended;

(b) A transfer that is a bona fide gift or loan between immediate family members, which are limited to spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles;

(c) A transfer that occurs by operation of law or because of the death of a person for whom the prospective transferor is an executor or administrator of an estate or a trustee of a trust created in a will;

(d) A transfer that is temporary and occurs while in the home of the unlicensed transferee if:

(I) The unlicensed transferee is not prohibited from possessing firearms; and

(II) The unlicensed transferee reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury to the unlicensed transferee;

(e) A temporary transfer of possession without transfer of ownership or a title to ownership, which transfer takes place:

(I) At a shooting range located in or on premises owned or occupied by a duly incorporated organization organized for conservation purposes or to foster proficiency in firearms;

(II) At a target firearm shooting competition under the auspices of, or approved by, a state agency or a nonprofit organization; or

(III) While hunting, fishing, target shooting, or trapping if:

(A) The hunting, fishing, target shooting, or trapping is legal in all places where the unlicensed transferee possesses the firearm; and

(B) The unlicensed transferee holds any license or permit that is required for such hunting, fishing, target shooting, or trapping;

(f) A transfer of a firearm that is made to facilitate the repair or maintenance of the firearm; except that this paragraph (f) does not apply unless all parties who possess the firearm as a result of the transfer may legally possess a firearm;

(g) Any temporary transfer that occurs while in the continuous presence of the owner of the firearm;

(h) A temporary transfer for not more than seventy-two hours. A person who transfers a firearm pursuant to this paragraph (h) may be jointly and severally liable for damages proximately caused by the transferee's subsequent unlawful use of the firearm; or

(i) A transfer of a firearm from a person serving in the armed forces of the United States who will be deployed outside of the United States within the next thirty days to any immediate family member, which is limited to a spouse, parent, child, sibling, grandparent, grandchild, niece, nephew, first cousin, aunt, and uncle of the person.

(7) For purposes of paragraph (f) of subsection (6) of this section:

(a) An owner, manager, or employee of a business that repairs or maintains firearms may rely upon a transferor's statement that he or she may legally possess a firearm unless the owner, manager, or employee has actual knowledge to the contrary and may return possession of the firearm to the transferor upon completion of the repairs or maintenance without a background check;

(b) Unless a transferor of a firearm has actual knowledge to the contrary, the transferor may rely upon the statement of an owner, manager, or employee of a business that repairs or maintains firearms that no owner, manager, or employee of the business is prohibited from possessing a firearm.

(8) Nothing in subsection (6) of this section shall be interpreted to limit or otherwise alter the applicability of section 18-12-111 concerning the unlawful purchase or transfer of firearms.

(9) (a) A person who violates a provision of this section commits a class 1 misdemeanor and shall be punished in accordance with section 18-1.3-501. The person shall also be prohibited from possessing a firearm for two years, beginning on the date of his or her conviction.

(b) When a person is convicted of violating a provision of this section, the state court administrator shall report the conviction to the bureau and to the national instant criminal background check system created by the federal "Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act", Pub.L. 103-159, the relevant portion of which is codified at 18 U.S.C. sec. 922 (t). The report shall include information indicating that the person is prohibited from possessing a firearm for two years, beginning on the date of his or her conviction.

Is it legal for a private citizen to sell ammunition to another private citizen?

YES. The only catch here is that the sale is not legal if the seller knows the purchaser may not legally possess ammunition. For example, persons subject to a prohibition on possessing firearms under Federal law are also prohibited from possessing ammunition.

Does Colorado require "handgun registration"?

NO (Only because of the hard work of RMGO and its members).

 

Convicted Felons and Firearm Ownership

Persons convicted of a state offense may contact the office of the attorney general in the state where their conviction occurred, or the state’s Department of Justice, for information concerning restoration alternatives that may be available. (For example, the state may have a procedure for a gubernatorial pardon, a set-aside or expunction of the conviction, or a restoration of firearm rights.)

Persons convicted of a federal offense may elect to apply for a presidential pardon. Information on applying for a presidential pardon may be obtained at:

U.S. Department of Justice

The Pardon Attorney’s Office

1425 New York Avenue, NW, Suite 11000

Washington, DC 20530 USA

Voice (202) 616-6070

While Federal law provides for a restoration of firearm privileges for felons and others subject to a firearms disability (18 USC section 925(c )), Congress has prohibited the expenditure of funds for this purpose annually since 1992. In the case United States v. Bean, 537 U.S. 71 (2002), the U.S. Supreme Court decided that this annual appropriations provision meant that restoration of firearms ownership for felons under the Gun Control Act was no longer available. If the conviction is under state law, a state may provide for restoration of firearms ownership rights. For a Federal law conviction, a presidential pardon is the only avenue currently available for restoration of rights.

Q Can I carry concealed in my home or business or vehicle without a permit (even in Denver)?

Yes. No permit is required to carry a concealed, loaded, handgun in one’s car, home or business. Further, local jurisdictions are prohibited from making rules that are more strict than state law, and even Denver has toed the line on this issue.

See C.R.S. section 18-12-105. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon - unlawful possession of weapons
(1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:
(a) Carries a knife concealed on or about his or her person; or
(b) Carries a firearm concealed on or about his or her person; or
(2) It shall not be an offense if the defendant was:
(a) A person in his or her own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under his or her control at the time of the act of carrying; or
(b) A person in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance who carries a weapon for lawful protection of such person's or another's person or property while traveling;

8-12-105.6. Limitation on local ordinances regarding firearms in private vehicles
(1) The general assembly hereby finds that:
(a) A person carrying a weapon in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of such person's or another's person or property, as permitted in sections 18-12-105 (2) (b) and 18-12-105.5 (3) (c), may tend to travel within a county, city and county, or municipal jurisdiction or in or through different county, city and county, and municipal jurisdictions, en route to the person's destination;
(b) Inconsistent laws exist in local jurisdictions with regard to the circumstances under which weapons may be carried in automobiles and other private means of conveyance;
(c) This inconsistency creates a confusing patchwork of laws that unfairly subjects a person who lawfully travels with a weapon to criminal penalties because he or she travels within a jurisdiction or into or through another jurisdiction;
(d) This inconsistency places citizens in the position of not knowing when they may be violating local laws while traveling within a jurisdiction or in, through, or between different jurisdictions, and therefore being unable to avoid committing a crime.
(2) (a) Based on the findings specified in subsection (1) of this section, the general assembly concludes that the carrying of weapons in private automobiles or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of a person's or another's person or property while traveling into, through, or within, a municipal, county, or city and county jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in a jurisdiction, is a matter of statewide concern and is not an offense.
(b) Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no municipality, county, or city and county shall have the authority to enact or enforce any ordinance or resolution that would restrict a person's ability to travel with a weapon in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for hunting or for lawful protection of a person's or another's person or property while traveling into, through, or within, a municipal, county, or city and county jurisdiction, regardless of the number of times the person stops in a jurisdiction.

Can I carry a concealed handgun on my person anywhere I want, without a permit in Colorado?

No. The only exceptions are for persons who are classified as “a peace officer, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency as provided in section 16-2.5-101 (2), C.R.S.; or a United States probation officer or a United States pretrial services officer while on duty and serving in the state of Colorado under the authority of rules and regulations promulgated by the judicial conference of the United States.” However as noted above, no permit is required for concealed carry in your car, home or business.

Where can I NOT carry my handgun with a valid Colorado concealed carry permit?

Unlike many states, Colorado prohibits carry with a permit in very few places. The permit is not good at places where firearms are prohibited by Federal law. It is also not valid for concealed carry at any public elementary school, public middle school or public high school. It is also not acceptable at a public building which has security personnel and metal detectors to prevent carry of firearms into the building, and which has all persons leave their firearm in the custody of the security personnel while visiting the building. The Colorado state judiciary, as a separate, co-equal branch of government, has authorized the chief judge in each judicial district to prohibit firearms as they see fit, without complying with this law. A few rural courthouses in Colorado may still not screen visitors for firearms or regulate firearms being brought into the courthouse, but most prohibit weapons, screen for them, and do not provide any facilities for persons carrying with a concealed carry permit to store their firearm while visiting the building. Other government offices located in the courthouse will piggyback on the courthouse screening, to prohibit firearms without complying with this statute.

Place Concealed Carry Prohibited by law?

Primary or secondary school Yes

Casino No

Bank No

Government office No

College No

Bar No

Church No

Stadium No

Polling Place No

Hospital No

Amusement Park No

Restaurant No

Post Office Yes

Secure area of airport Yes

Unsecure area of airport No

Concealed carry at establishments which serve alcohol is legal in Colorado. Concealed carry at public colleges is legal, and the college may not prohibit it. See Regents of the University of Colorado v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus,LLC, 271 P.3d 496 (Colo. 2012). http://www.courts.state.co.us/Courts/Supreme_Court/opinions/2010/10SC344.pdf. Concealed carry in casinos is legal. Concealed carry in churches or at stadiums or other public gatherings is also legal. Colorado does not have a scheme where private establishments can post a certain type of notice and render the permit void at that establishment. Private establishments can prohibit carry if they wish, and in the event the person carrying is asked to leave and does not leave, that person can be arrested and charged with trespassing.

18-12-214. Authority granted by permit - carrying restrictions.

(1) (a) A permit to carry a concealed handgun authorizes the permittee to carry a concealed handgun in all areas of the state, except

(2) A permit issued does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun into a place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law.

(3) A permit issued pursuant to this part 2 does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvements erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school; except that:

(a) A permittee may have a handgun on the real property of the public school so long as the handgun remains in his or her vehicle and, if the permittee is not in the vehicle, the handgun is in a compartment within the vehicle and the vehicle is locked;

(b) A permittee who is employed or retained by contract by a school district as a school security officer may carry a concealed handgun onto the real property, or into any improvement erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school while the permittee is on duty;

(c) A permittee may carry a concealed handgun on undeveloped real property owned by a school district that is used for hunting or other shooting sports.

(4) A permit issued pursuant to this part 2 does not authorize a person to carry a concealed handgun into a public building at which:

(a) Security personnel and electronic weapons screening devices are permanently in place at each entrance to the building;

(b) Security personnel electronically screen each person who enters the building to determine whether the person is carrying a weapon of any kind; and

(c) Security personnel require each person who is carrying a weapon of any kind to leave the weapon in possession of security personnel while the person is in the building.

(5) Nothing in this part 2 shall be construed to limit, restrict, or prohibit in any manner the existing rights of a private property owner, private tenant, private employer, or private business entity.

Who issues concealed carry of a handgun permits?

The county sheriff where the applicant lives or has a business is the person who is required by law to issue the permit. In counties that are a city and county another party may do this (in Denver it is the Manager of Safety).

Can a sheriff issue a permit to me, even if I don’t live in the area they cover?

Yes, if you own a business here. Only Colorado residents or business owners are eligible for a Colorado concealed carry of handgun permit. You are directed to apply initially to the sheriff for the county where you reside or own a business. If you move you renew the permit at the sheriff in your new county. Colorado has reciprocity with a number of states, so it is possible that if you live out of state your permit from your home state may be honored in Colorado. CBI’s website has a current list of states with which Colorado has reciprocity.

18-12-205. Sheriff - application - procedure - background check.

(2) (a) An applicant shall complete the permit application form and return it, in person, to the sheriff of the county or city and county in which the applicant resides or to the sheriff of the county or city and county in which the applicant maintains a secondary residence or owns or leases real property used by the applicant in a business.

Can I Open Carry in Colorado?

YES. But this is not a simple yes; unfortunately, it is quite complicated.

What exactly is Open Carry? There is no statutory definition of open carry. But put simply, it is the carrying of a firearm that is not concealed. Colorado law is silent on open carry. As it is not prohibited , it is legal. Denver has a municipal ordinance that prohibits open carry. The Denver ordinance, together with a prohibition on issuing concealed carry permits to non-Colorado residents, was upheld as not violating the 2nd amendment in Peterson v. Martinez, 707 F.3d 1197 (10th Cir 2013). http://www.ca10.uscourts.gov/opinions/11/11-1149.pdf This decision seems to conflict with decisions in other circuits, however the U.S. Supreme Court has thus far not reviewed the issue.

Does it matter if it is loaded or not? SOMETIMES.

In general, it does not change things legally if it is loaded or not. For example, in your car, the law does prohibit long guns with a round chambered, but not handguns. These are based on hunting laws. But the law concerning weapons “in facilities of public transportation” does specify “any loaded firearm.” Technically, an unloaded firearm would be legal, but a violation of this law is a felony, so arguing loaded v. unloaded is some very thin ice to skate on.

CRS section 33-6-125. Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle

It is unlawful for any person, except a person authorized by law or by the division, to possess or have under his control any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded. Any person in possession or in control of a rifle or shotgun in a motor vehicle shall allow any peace officer, as defined in section 33-1-102 (32), who is empowered and acting under the authority granted in section 33-6-101 to enforce articles 1 to 6 of this title to inspect the chamber of any rifle or shotgun in the motor vehicle. For the purposes of this section, a "muzzle-loader" shall be considered unloaded if it is not primed, and, for such purpose, "primed" means having a percussion cap on the nipple or flint in the striker and powder in the flash pan. Any person who violates this section is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by a fine of fifty dollars and an assessment of fifteen license suspension points.

What are the reasons for denial of a CBI background check?

In Colorado, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is the state point of contact for the Brady law background check required by Federal law. They do a check with NICS and with State records. They charge a tax for this “service”, which is currently $10, but can be adjusted by CBI up or down as they see fit. The dealer typically passes this tax is on to the purchaser.

Under Federal law the following persons may not purchase a firearm from a licensed dealer, and in most cases are also prohibited from possessing a firearm or ammunition; a person who (1) is under indictment for, or has been convicted in any court of, a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year; (2) is a fugitive from justice; (3) is an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance (as defined in section 102 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 802)); (4) has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to any mental institution; (5) who, being an alien— (A) is illegally or unlawfully in the United States; or (B) except as provided in subsection (y)(2), has been admitted to the United States under a nonimmigrant visa (as that term is defined in section 101(a)(26) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (8 U.S.C. 1101(a)(26))); (6) who has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions; (7) who, having been a citizen of the United States, has renounced his citizenship; (8) is subject to a court order that restrains such person from harassing, stalking, or threatening an intimate partner of such person or child of such intimate partner or person, or engaging in other conduct that would place an intimate partner in reasonable fear of bodily injury to the partner or child, except that this paragraph shall only apply to a court order that— (A) was issued after a hearing of which such person received actual notice, and at which such person had the opportunity to participate; and (B) (i) includes a finding that such person represents a credible threat to the physical safety of such intimate partner or child; or (ii) by its terms explicitly prohibits the use, attempted use, or threatened use of physical force against such intimate partner or child that would reasonably be expected to cause bodily injury; or (9) has been convicted in any court of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence.

Under Colorado law the following persons , who may not be prohibited from possessing a firearm under State or Federal law, will nonetheless fail the background check and be prohibited from purchasing firearms from a dealer:

C.R.S. section 24-22.5-424. The bureau shall deny a transfer of a firearm to a prospective transferee if the transfer would violate 18 U.S.C. sec. 922 (g) or (n) or result in the violation of any provision of state law, including but not limited to section 18-12-108 (4) (c), C.R.S., involving acts which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a burglary, arson, or any felony involving the use of force or the use of a deadly weapon.
(b) (I) In addition to the grounds for denial specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection (3), the bureau shall deny a transfer of a firearm if, at any time the bureau transmits the request or searches other databases, information indicates that the prospective transferee:
(A) Has been arrested for or charged with a crime for which the prospective transferee, if convicted, would be prohibited under state or federal law from purchasing, receiving, or possessing a firearm and either there has been no final disposition of the case or the final disposition is not noted in the other databases; or
(B) Is the subject of an indictment, an information, or a felony complaint alleging that the prospective transferee has committed a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year as defined in 18 U.S.C. sec. 921 (a) (20), as amended, and either there has been no final disposition of the case or the final disposition is not noted in the other databases.

In the event you fail a background check due to the problem with incomplete records noted in paragraph (b) it is incumbent upon the person who wishes to buy the gun to contact the agency that CBI has as the source of the incomplete record, and obtain proof that the firearms disability suggested by the incomplete record does not exist. For example, if CBI says a court in Arizona reports that the buyer was under indictment for a felony, but do not note how the case turned out, the buyer must contact the court in Arizona and obtain proof the case was dismissed, or was plea bargained down to a misdemeanor, or whatever the outcome of the case was. Of course if the outcome was the buyer was convicted of a felony, just as he was initially charged, there is not much point in the exercise, as the purchase would still be denied.

If you are denied a purchase by the CBI background check the dealer should give you a form which you can use to request the reasons for the denial from CBI. CBI will not tell the dealer the basis for the denial. Once you have the reasons for the denial from CBI you can figure out how to solve the problem. Sometimes it is mistaken identity, but most often, it will be the incomplete records, which would not be a basis for a denial under Federal law, but are the basis for a denial under Colorado law. If you need help with this kind of issue feel free to drop us a note at [email protected]

Can I legally possess a semi-automatic, so-called "Assault Weapon" in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado has no state laws which regulate semi-automatic firearms any differently from other firearms. Colorado does have a state law regulating certain ammunition magazines, as noted above. Denver purports to regulate assault weapons. As noted above the state law pre-emption of this ordinance was rejected in the City & County of Denver v. State trial court decision. The Denver ordinance reads:

Sec. 38-130. Assault weapons.

(a) Legislative intent. The city council hereby finds and declares that the use of assault weapons poses a threat to the health, safety and security of all citizens of the City and County of Denver. Further, the council finds that assault weapons are capable both of a rapid rate of fire as well as of a capacity to fire an inordinately large number of rounds without reloading and are designed primarily for military or antipersonnel use. The city council finds that law enforcement agencies report increased use of assault weapons for criminal activities. This has resulted in a record number of related homicides and injuries to citizens and law enforcement officers. It is, therefore, the intent of the city council to place reasonable and necessary restrictions on the sale and possession of assault weapons while placing no restrictions on the right of citizens to use weapons which are primarily designed and intended for hunting, target practice and other legitimate sports or recreational activities and the protection of home, person and property.

(b) Definitions. The following words and phrases, when used in this section, shall have these meanings respectively ascribed to them:

(1) Assault weapon shall include all firearms with any of the following characteristics:

  1. All semiautomatic action, centerfire rifles with a detachable magazine with a capacity of twenty-one (21) or more rounds.
  2. All semiautomatic shotguns with a folding stock or a magazine capacity of more than six (6) rounds or both.
  3. Reserved.
  4. Any firearm which has been modified to be operable as an assault weapon as defined herein.
  5. Any part or combination of parts designed or intended to convert a firearm into an assault weapon, including a detachable magazine with a capacity of twenty-one (21) or more rounds, or any combination of parts from which an assault weapon may be readily assembled if those parts are in the possession or under the control of the same person.

(2) Fixed cartridge shall mean that self-contained unit consisting of the case, primer, propellant charge and projectile or projectiles.

(3) Magazine shall mean a box, drum or other container which holds and feeds ammunition into a semiautomatic rifle, shotgun or pistol.

(4) Pistol shall mean a weapon originally designed, made and intended to fire a projectile (bullet) from one (1) or more barrels when held in one (1) hand and having:

  1. A chamber as an integral part of or permanently aligned with the bore or having a breech-loading chambered cylinder so arranged that the cocking of the hammer or movement of the trigger rotates it and brings the next cartridge in line with the barrel for firing; and
  2. A short stock designed to be gripped by one (1) hand and at an angle to and extending below the line of the bore(s).

(5) Rifle shall mean a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade and intended to be fired from the shoulder or hip and designed or redesigned or made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed cartridge to fire only a single projectile through a rifled bore for each single pull of the trigger and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed cartridge.

(6) Semiautomatic shall mean a weapon which fires a single projectile for each single pull of the trigger which automatically chambers the next round for firing and which employs a magazine.

(7) Shotgun shall mean a weapon designed or redesigned, made or remade and intended to be fired from the shoulder or hip and designed or redesigned and made or remade to use the energy of the explosive in a fixed shotgun shell to fire through a smooth bore either a number of projectiles (ball shot) or a single projectile for each pull of the trigger and shall include any such weapon which may be readily restored to fire a fixed shotgun shell.

(c) Specific weapons not included. As used in this section, assault weapon does not include any of the following:

(1) All weapons that do not use fixed cartridges, all weapons that were in production prior to 1898, all manually operated bolt-action weapons, all lever-action weapons, all slide-action weapons, all single-shot weapons, all multiple-barrel weapons, all revolving-cylinder weapons, all semiautomatic weapons for which there is no fixed magazine with capacity of twenty-one (21) or more rounds available, all semiautomatic weapons that use exclusively en bloc clips, all semiautomatic weapons in production prior to 1954 and all rimfire weapons that employ a tubular magazine.

(2) Any firearm that uses .22 caliber rimfire ammunition.

(3) Any assault weapon which has been modified either to render it permanently inoperable or to permanently make it a device no longer defined as an assault weapon.

(d) Supplemental provisions. Except as specifically stated herein, the provisions of this section are independent of and supplemental to any other provisions of law, and nothing shall prevent a device defined as an assault weapon in this section from also being regulated under other provisions of law.

(e) Possession of assault weapons unlawful. It shall be unlawful to carry, store, keep, manufacture, sell or otherwise possess within the City and County of Denver a weapon or weapons defined herein as assault weapons, except that this subdivision shall not apply to:

(1) Any federal, state or local government agency or to any sworn members of said agencies acting within their official capacities.

(2) Any assault weapon which is being used as a movie prop for any motion picture or television program which is being filmed in whole or in part within the City and County of Denver if, prior to such use, the police department is notified in advance in writing of the date, time, location, production schedule and days upon which such use shall take place and the type and serial numbers of the firearms.

(3) It shall be an affirmative defense to charges brought under this section that the transportation of an assault weapon:

(a) Is through the city by a nonresident who is in legal possession of an assault weapon; or

(b) Is by a person carrying a permit issued under subsection (f) and the transportation is for one (1) of the following purposes:

  1. In aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned;
  2. To a bona fide hunting trip for wild game, or to a legitimate sporting use of such weapon, including shooting matches or target trap or skeet shooting. All weapons carried for such purposes shall be unloaded;

iii. While transporting such weapon to or from a place for sale outside the city or for repair. All weapons carried for such purposes shall be unloaded at all times;

  1. As a member of the armed forces of a state or of the federal government while engaged in the lawful performance of duty;
  2. In conjunction with moving personal property, including such weapon, from an old residence to a new residence. All weapons carried for such purposes shall be unloaded at all times.

(f) Conditional exception. Any person over the age of twenty-one (21) years who obtained an assault weapon legally prior to the effective date of this section may obtain a permit to keep, store and possess said assault weapon if:

(1) Said weapon is properly identifiable and contains its original serial number.

(2) An application for a permit for each assault weapon is filed with the police department within sixty (60) days of the effective date of this section pursuant to such procedures as the department may establish. The application shall contain a description of the firearm that identifies it uniquely, including all identification marks and numbers, the full name, address, date of birth and fingerprints of the owner and the address where such assault weapon will be stored and such other information as the department may deem appropriate. The place of storage and possession shall not be changed without notification to the department of the proposed change in location and when said weapon will be transported. The department may charge a fee for registration not to exceed the actual processing costs of the department.

(3) The department shall issue a permit which shall identify the weapon and where it is to be stored.

(4) The information required for the registration and permitting of assault weapons shall be treated as confidential and shall not be made available to members of the general public. The council finds that the release of such information would constitute an unwarranted invasion of personal privacy and could endanger the life or safety of persons at the premises where an assault weapon is located. The information on a permit application shall be used by the city only for law enforcement purposes.

(g) Sale or transfer unlawful. It is unlawful to sell or transfer possession of an assault weapon possessed pursuant to subsection (f) within the City and County of Denver.

(h) Reserved.

(i) Specific magazine prohibited. It shall be unlawful to carry, store or otherwise possess a magazine which will hold or may be modified to hold twenty-one (21) or more rounds.

(j) Penalty. Any person, firm or corporation who is convicted of violating any provision of this section shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100.00) or more than nine hundred ninety-nine dollars ($999.00) and a term of incarceration of not less than ten (10) days nor more than one hundred eighty (180) days.

(k) Violation; disposition. Upon a conviction of violating any provision of this section, the weapon shall be confiscated and destroyed under section 38-120, disposition of confiscated weapons.

(Ord. No. 669-89, § 1, 11-6-89; Ord. No. 719-89, § 1, 11-27-89; Ord. No. 1058-96, § 2, 12-9-96; Ord. No. 38-07, § 6, 1-22-07)

What are the Federal & State Age restrictions for firearms purchase and/or possession?

Federal law requires that a person be at least 18 years of age to purchase a long gun (rifle or shotgun) from a licensed dealer. A person must be at least 21 years of age to purchase any other firearm from a dealer, including a handgun, a firearm frame or receiver, or a firearm that uses a shotgun action and fires shotgun ammunition but which has no shoulder stock.

Unfortunately, with the 2013 enactment of the private sale background check in Colorado, persons who cannot buy a particular firearm from a dealer because of their age cannot buy them from a private party either. Persons between the ages of 18 and 21 who wish to obtain a handgun, for example, may receive one as a gift from immediate family (spouses, parents, children, siblings, grandparents, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, first cousins, aunts, and uncles), or they may make it themselves, starting with an 80% machined frame or receiver, for example.

Federal law prohibits persons who are under the age of 18 from possessing a handgun, unless they have a note from their parent or guardian, or fall into certain other limited circumstances. See 18 U.S.C. section 922(x). Colorado also prohibits persons under 18 from possessing a handgun, with very limited exceptions . See C.R.S. Section 18-12-108.5. There are no age limits, state or federal, for possessing a rifle or shotgun.

18 USC section 922(x)

(1) It shall be unlawful for a person to sell, deliver, or otherwise transfer to a person who the transferor knows or has reasonable cause to believe is a juvenile—

(A) a handgun; or

(B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any person who is a juvenile to knowingly possess—

(A) a handgun; or

(B) ammunition that is suitable for use only in a handgun.

(3) This subsection does not apply to—

(A) a temporary transfer of a handgun or ammunition to a juvenile or to the possession or use of a handgun or ammunition by a juvenile if the handgun and ammunition are possessed and used by the juvenile—

(i) in the course of employment, in the course of ranching or farming related to activities at the residence of the juvenile (or on property used for ranching or farming at which the juvenile, with the permission of the property owner or lessee, is performing activities related to the operation of the farm or ranch), target practice, hunting, or a course of instruction in the safe and lawful use of a handgun;

(ii) with the prior written consent of the juvenile’s parent or guardian who is not prohibited by Federal, State, or local law from possessing a firearm, except—

(I) during transportation by the juvenile of an unloaded handgun in a locked container directly from the place of transfer to a place at which an activity described in clause (i) is to take place and transportation by the juvenile of that handgun, unloaded and in a locked container, directly from the place at which such an activity took place to the transferor; or

(II) with respect to ranching or farming activities as described in clause (i), a juvenile may possess and use a handgun or ammunition with the prior written approval of the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian and at the direction of an adult who is not prohibited by Federal, State or local law from possessing a firearm;

(iii) the juvenile has the prior written consent in the juvenile’s possession at all times when a handgun is in the possession of the juvenile; and

(iv) in accordance with State and local law;

(B) a juvenile who is a member of the Armed Forces of the United States or the National Guard who possesses or is armed with a handgun in the line of duty;

(C) a transfer by inheritance of title (but not possession) of a handgun or ammunition to a juvenile; or

(D) the possession of a handgun or ammunition by a juvenile taken in defense of the juvenile or other persons against an intruder into the residence of the juvenile or a residence in which the juvenile is an invited guest.

(4) A handgun or ammunition, the possession of which is transferred to a juvenile in circumstances in which the transferor is not in violation of this subsection shall not be subject to permanent confiscation by the Government if its possession by the juvenile subsequently becomes unlawful because of the conduct of the juvenile, but shall be returned to the lawful owner when such handgun or ammunition is no longer required by the Government for the purposes of investigation or prosecution.

(5) For purposes of this subsection, the term “juvenile” means a person who is less than 18 years of age.

(6) (A) In a prosecution of a violation of this subsection, the court shall require the presence of a juvenile defendant’s parent or legal guardian at all proceedings.

(B) The court may use the contempt power to enforce subparagraph (A).

(C) The court may excuse attendance of a parent or legal guardian of a juvenile defendant at a proceeding in a prosecution of a violation of this subsection for good cause shown.

18-12-108.5. Possession of handguns by juveniles - prohibited - exceptions - penalty
(1) (a) Except as provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person who has not attained the age of eighteen years knowingly to have any handgun in such person's possession.
(b) Any person possessing any handgun in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) commits the offense of illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile.
(c) (I) Illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile is a class 2 misdemeanor.
(II) For any second or subsequent offense, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile is a class 5 felony.
(d) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is taken into custody by a law enforcement officer for an offense pursuant to this section shall be taken into temporary custody in the manner described in section 19-2-508, C.R.S.
(2) This section shall not apply to:
(a) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is:
(I) In attendance at a hunter's safety course or a firearms safety course; or
(II) Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited; or
(III) Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 501 (c) (3) as determined by the federal internal revenue service which uses firearms as a part of such performance; or
(IV) Hunting or trapping pursuant to a valid license issued to such person pursuant to article 4 of title 33, C.R.S.; or
(V) Traveling with any handgun in such person's possession being unloaded to or from any activity described in subparagraph (I), (II), (III), or (IV) of this paragraph (a);
(b) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is on real property under the control of such person's parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun;
(c) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is at such person's residence and who, with the permission of such person's parent or legal guardian, possesses a handgun for the purpose of exercising the rights contained in section 18-1-704 or section 18-1-704.5.
(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, a handgun is "loaded" if:
(a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the handgun; or
(b) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the handgun, if the handgun is a revolver; or
(c) The handgun, and the ammunition for such handgun, is carried on the person of a person under the age of eighteen years or is in such close proximity to such person that such person could readily gain access to the handgun and the ammunition and load the handgun
.

Can I buy firearms through the mail?

Generally speaking Federal law prohibits firearm purchases through the mail (or common carrier). If you find a firearm for sale that is out of state and you wish to purchase it, you can arrange to have it shipped to a licensed dealer near you, pay them a nominal fee ($15-$25), and receive it from them. Click here for a list of FFL's in your area.

Is it legal to be intoxicated while possessing a firearm?

A. No it is not. Consuming alcohol or drugs while possessing a firearm is not automatically illegal. "Under the influence" is the key.

18-12-106. Prohibited use of weapons.

(1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if:

(d) The person has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance, as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S. Possession of a [permit to carry a handgun concealed] is no defense to a violation of this subsection (1).

This can apply in one’s home, as well as in public. If you have a firearm in your car and get arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs you can also be charged with violating this statute. It is important to note that while Colorado does not prohibit concealed carry in places that serve alcohol, drinking liquor while carrying can be a whole different issue. This statute does not incorporate a specific blood alcohol content (BAC) test, the way some driving under the influence laws do. Instead your intoxication is going to be measured by things like your ability to stand, talk, or whatever else the prosecutor introduces to show you were impaired by the alcohol or drugs. The point is that you can still be intoxicated even if your BAC is not at a specific level. Consuming any amount of alcohol (or controlled substances, including otherwise legally possessed prescription drugs) while possessing a firearm can end up being a problem. Being drunk while you own firearms is not enough to trigger this statute, the firearm has to be in your possession. Very generally speaking that means in your hand or immediately at hand.

If I carry in a private business that bans firearms or bans concealed carry of handguns, am I guilty of criminal trespass?

Sometimes. You would have to be asked to leave and then decline to do so, or return to premises from which you had been previously told you were not welcome to visit. Ignoring a sign at a private business that states firearms are prohibited is not automatically a trespass in Colorado.

18-4-504 Third Degree Criminal Trespass

(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.

(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense, but:

(a) It is a class 3 misdemeanor if the premises have been classified by the county assessor for the county in which the land is situated as agricultural land pursuant to section 39-1-102 (1.6), C.R.S.; and

(b) It is a class 5 felony if the person trespasses on premises so classified as agricultural land with the intent to commit a felony thereon.

Does Colorado have a "Make My Day" law?

YES. Passed in 1985.

18-1-704.5. Use of deadly physical force against an intruder

(1) The general assembly hereby recognizes that the citizens of Colorado have a right to expect absolute safety within their own homes.

(2) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 18-1-704, any occupant of a dwelling is justified in using any degree of physical force, including deadly physical force, against another person when that other person has made an unlawful entry into the dwelling, and when the occupant has a reasonable belief that such other person has committed a crime in the dwelling in addition to the uninvited entry, or is committing or intends to commit a crime against a person or property in addition to the uninvited entry, and when the occupant reasonably believes that such other person might use any physical force, no matter how slight, against any occupant.

(3) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from criminal prosecution for the use of such force.

(4) Any occupant of a dwelling using physical force, including deadly physical force, in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this section shall be immune from any civil liability for injuries or death resulting from the use of such force.

Can I legally possess a machine gun in Colorado?

CONDITIONAL YES.

Unlike many other states (which ban them outright), otherwise lawfully possessed Title II weapons (machine guns, suppressors, short barreled rifles and shotguns, AOW’s, and destructive devices) are legal in Colorado, but those firearms do have significant restrictions and regulations set by federal law (mostly defined in the 1934 National Firearms Act).

Colorado law prohibits possession of silencers, machine guns, short barreled shotguns and short barreled rifles. It has an exception for persons who have “a valid permit and license for possession of such weapon.” See C.R.S. section 18-12-102. While there is no state level permit or license for NFA firearms, a lawful Federal registration for such a firearm is considered to meet the requirement of this statute. This is a common structure for these laws, it puts the burden on you to show the firearm is lawfully registered, should your possession of it come to the attention of local law enforcement. If you fail to do this then your possession of it is prohibited.

18-12-102. Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon - affirmative defense
(1) As used in this section, the term "dangerous weapon" means a firearm silencer, machine gun, short shotgun, short rifle, or ballistic knife.
(2) As used in this section, the term "illegal weapon" means a blackjack, gas gun, metallic knuckles, gravity knife, or switchblade knife.
(3) A person who knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon commits a class 5 felony. Each subsequent violation of this subsection (3) by the same person shall be a class 4 felony.
(4) A person who knowingly possesses an illegal weapon commits a class 1 misdemeanor.
(5) It shall be an affirmative defense to the charge of possessing a dangerous weapon, or to the charge of possessing an illegal weapon, that the person so accused was a peace officer or member of the armed forces of the United States or Colorado National Guard acting in the lawful discharge of his duties, or that said person has a valid permit and license for possession of such weapon.

Colorado regulates certain items classified as destructive devices differently. Explosive and incendiary weapons (bombs and grenades for example) are also regulated under the NFA. Colorado has a fairly comprehensive scheme for regulating such weapons, and for regulating explosives in general. Private ownership of these weapons is very unusual, because they are dangerous to store and to use.

The price on machine guns is outrageous (usually 15-20 times the price of the semi-automatic counterpart). Why?

In 1986, the NRA worked to pass the McClure-Volkmer Act. Amongst other things, it halted the production of transferable machine guns in America (codified at 18 USC section 922(o). That means that if a regular person wants to buy a machine gun, he must purchase one built and registered in 1986 or earlier. Machine guns made after the law took effect are only available to government entities or in certain cases to licensed dealers, manufacturers or importers of such weapons.

Again, the NRA supported this (yet another example of the NRA selling out the American gun owner).

Can I shoot a firearm in a National Forest?

YES. However, there are federal regulations.

A firearm may not be discharged in the following National Forest areas:

Within 150 yards of a residence, building, campsite, developed recreation site, or occupied area; or

Across or on a Forest Development road or an adjacent body of water, or in any manner or place whereby any person or property is exposed to injury or damage as a result of such discharge; or

Into or within any cave. [36 CFR 261.10 (d)]

Note: Some forest or districts have additional restrictions on discharging a firearm. You are advised to check with the authorities in the areas you will be visiting.