ATTENTION GUN OWNERS & FUTURE GUN OWNERS: GET CONCEALED CARRY CERTIFIED BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE

Colorado Concealed Carry Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws

Everything you need to know about owning a firearm in the state of Colorado

Colorado State Seal

Colorado Reciprocity Map

Last Updated: 2021

Colorado Concealed Carry Reciprocity Overview

5.8M

STATE POPULATION

555K

LICENSES ISSUED

9.6%

LICENSE PERCENTAGE

33

STATES HONORED

21

MINIMUM AGE TO CC

5

YEARS LICENSE VALID

35

RECIPROCATING STATES

NO

CONSTITUTIONAL CARRY

5

CC CERTIFIED INSTRUCTORS

Becoming a responsible firearm owner is rooted in a clear understanding of the gun rights and state laws that apply to you as a Colorado resident. The population of Colorado is 5.8 million, and the state had distributed around 555,000 concealed carry (CC) licenses as of August 2021. This means 9.42% of the population has permission to CC.

The minimum age to CC in Colorado is 21, and the license is valid for five years. Understanding how your gun rights translate across state lines (also known as reciprocity) is an important aspect of Colorado concealed carry. A concealed weapons license from Colorado is honored in 35 states, with Colorado recognizing permits or licenses from 33 others. 

Those interested in obtaining a Colorado concealed carry license need an education partner they can trust. Concealed Coalition has trained over a million U.S. citizens on how to carry their weapons safely and effectively. Contact us to find online or local training to get your CC license.

Summary of Colorado Gun Laws

Your Colorado Gun Rights

Local county sheriff’s offices issue Colorado CC permits. Colorado is a ‘shall-issue’ state required to supply qualifying applicants with a firearms license. People can buy handguns without being registered, and no permit is required. Private transfers must be done through a licensed dealer who will conduct a background check on the intended recipient.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has final say on whether to allow such transfers. The CBI also does a background check whenever a citizen purchases a firearm via their Firearms InstaCheck Unit.

Gun rights can differ depending on where you are in America and even within your own state. This is what makes a working understanding of your home rules so important. Colorado residents should always contact their local sheriff’s office for the latest CC information, but here are some key laws:

Open Carry in Colorado

Colorado generally sets a limit of 18 and up for individuals legally cleared to possess a firearm. This may differ between counties, so consult with your local sheriff to be sure.

Concealed Carry in Colorado

Colorado requires a CCW permit and being 21 or older to CC in the state. Applicants must complete a state-approved firearm course to obtain this permit.

Self Defense Laws in Colorado

Colorado has rules on where and how force or deadly force can be applied. This is critically important knowledge for all firearms owners to help them act more confidently within the limits of the law.

Use of Force

Colorado residents are allowed to stand their ground against an aggressor to protect themselves, a third party, or property and premises by using a degree of force deemed necessary to address the attack or prevent mischief, theft, trespass, or criminal property damage.

Use of Deadly Force

Deadly force is allowed when someone unlawfully enters a dwelling and commits or intends to commit a further crime once inside. It’s also permitted under the reasonable belief that it will prevent great bodily harm, kidnapping, sexual assault, or death.

Protecting Yourself After Use of Force

It’s vital to be aware of the legal definitions of acceptable use of force before acting. Applying necessary force in line with the perceived threat must be done under the reasonable belief that it’s justified. Successfully proving so in a court of law will provide you with immunity from prosecution.

Firearms training is a reliable way to gain legal awareness and situational judgment. Concealed Coalition has trained people nationwide to become responsible, certified gun owners. Classes are available locally and online.

Colorado Gun Laws by Statute

Concealed Coalition is dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding gun ownership and promoting a culture of understanding, responsibility, and confidence. Our certified instructors are qualified across multiple states, and our online or local training classes provide convenient learning environments run by instructors who care.

Contact us today at (720) 464-2109 or email to discuss your concealed carry permit educational needs..

Quick Links

A Colorado Concealed Carry Training Class with Concealed Coalition

CONCEALED CARRY BASICS IN COLORADO

QUESTION

ANSWER

Does Colorado recognize constitutional carry?

No.

Is open carry permitted in Colorado?

Yes, without a permit, except in Denver County and other posted areas. Any person who is at least 18 years old who can legally possess a firearm is allowed to carry.

What is the minimum age in Colorado to get a concealed carry license?

21 years old.

Is it legal to own a taser or stun gun in Colorado?

Yes. No permit is necessary.

Is it legal to buy or use chemical spray/pepper spray in Colorado?

Yes.

Does Colorado have magazine capacity restrictions for handguns?

Magazines with greater than 15 rounds are generally prohibited, with some localities having different limits. Contact your local sheriff’s office for local restrictions.

Does Colorado have ammunition restrictions?

Treated or Teflon-coated ammo is prohibited in Aurora. There are no statewide restrictions under the law.

CONCEALED CARRY LOCATIONS IN COLORADO

QUESTION

ANSWER

Where can't I carry a concealed firearm in Colorado?

State law prohibits CC:

  • In any location prohibited by federal law
  • On private property or in private businesses
  • While aboard a snowmobile
  • In secure airport areas
  • In courthouses
  • In any public building with fixed security checkpoints
  • In schools

Firearms owners should never consider any list of restricted locations exhaustive. Call ahead to ask about the firearms policy of any intended destination.

Where can I carry a concealed firearm in Colorado?

CC licensees may carry on public transportation and in places of worship if permitted by the owners. Further accepted locations are covered later in this FAQ.

Can you carry a concealed handgun in a vehicle in Colorado?

Yes.

Can you carry a concealed firearm at roadside rest areas in Colorado?

Yes.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in state/national parks, state/national forest and Wildlife Management Areas in Colorado?

Yes, with a CC permit.

Can you carry a concealed firearm in bars and restaurants that serve alcohol in Colorado?

Private owners of these establishments may allow or prohibit CC. You must be in possession of a Colorado CC permit, one from a state Colorado honors, and not be under the influence.

Can you carry or possess a firearm on hotel property in Colorado?

Hotels are private businesses and can set their own rules. CC licensees should always check with the hotel to clarify their position in advance.

Does Colorado have laws relating to storing firearms in private vehicles in an employee parking lot?

This is not defined under Colorado law, making it essential to consult with your employer before attempting to do so.

IMPORTANT GUNS LAWS IN COLORADO

QUESTION

ANSWER

Do you have a duty to notify a police officer that you're carrying a concealed firearm in Colorado?

There is no duty to inform an officer, but it’s good conduct to volunteer the information without being asked.

Are "No Weapons Allowed? signs enforced in Colorado? If, yes, violating the sign would be considered to be a crime. If, no, violating the sign would not be considered a criminal offense.

No, but all CC licensees must be aware of prohibited locations while respecting the firearms stance of private property owners and businesses. Failure to leave when asked may constitute criminal trespass.

Does Colorado have preemption laws related to concealed carry (i.e., Does state law supersede local laws regarding the possession of handguns)?

Local governments can set rules on purchases, sales, possession, and transfers of firearms and ammunition, provided they’re more restrictive than existing state or federal law. Local authorities may also regulate open or concealed carry rules within any area in their jurisdiction under SB 21-56. Local powers do not extend to firearms in a person’s vehicle.

Does Colorado have a red flag law?

Yes.

Does Colorado state law define brandishing?

Not specifically, but clear definitions of menacing and disorderly conduct do exist under law.

Does Colorado have laws regarding carrying a concealed firearm while using alcohol or chemical substances?

Yes, it is illegal to concealed carry while using alcohol or illegal drugs..

Does Colorado issue concealed carry licenses to non-residents?

Only if they’re military permanently stationed there, or a family member of same.

Does Colorado allow the public to access concealed carry registry information through public records law?

No.

HANDGUN PURCHASE & POSSESSION IN COLORADO

QUESTION

ANSWER

Is a permit required to purchase a handgun in Colorado?

No.

Are background checks required for private gun sales in Colorado?

Yes. Colorado requires a background check in all transfers, including both private gun sellers and federally licensed dealers to initiate a background check when transferring a firearm.

With the exceptions listed below, any individual seeking to transfer possession of a firearm must have a background check conducted on the prospective transferee by a licensed gun dealer and must obtain approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) following the background check request.

There are exemptions which include sales or transfers to family, transfers to an estate or trust upon the owner’s death or temporary transfers for self-defense where the unlicensed transferee reasonably believes that possession of the firearm is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious bodily injury.

Does my current Colorado concealed carry license exempt me from needing a background check when I purchase firearm? 

No.

Is there a waiting period after purchasing a handgun in Colorado?

No.

Do handguns need to be registered in Colorado?

No.

What is the minimum age to possess and transport a handgun in Colorado?

The minimum age is 18, but younger individuals may transport a handgun under certain circumstances.

Can I possess/carry a handgun in my home in Colorado without a license? 

Yes.

COLORADO CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE INFORMATION

Concealed Carry Requirements to Register for a License in Colorado

An applicant must:

  • Be at least 21 years of age
  • Be a legal resident of Colorado
  • Not have been convicted of perjury
  • Not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages
  • Not be an unlawful user of or addicted to a controlled substance
  • Not be subject to a protection order
  • Demonstrate competence with a handgun

Fees:

Initial Permit $52 (The sheriff can charge an additional fee up to $100.)

Permit renewal fees vary from $50 to $63.

Valid For:

5 years.

Processing Time:

90 days.

Applications:

Non-Resident Concealed Carry License:

Yes, but only for members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members that live in the state. The process is the same as for residents.

Name & Address Changes:

Within 30 days after a permittee changes the address specified on his or her permit or 3 business days after his or her permit is lost, stolen or destroyed, the permittee shall notify the issuing Sheriff of the change of address or permit loss, theft or destruction using the address change/permit lost or destroyed form. Failure to notify the Sheriff is a Class 1 Petty Offense. 

Lost or Stolen Licenses:

If a permit is stolen or lost it becomes invalid and the issuing sheriff must be notified within 3 business days. Download and complete the permit lost or destroyed form and have it notarized.

Residency Changes:

Moving to Colorado?
Colorado issues permits to residents and members of the military permanently stationed in Colorado and their immediate family members. You can apply for your permit with your local sheriff once you have established your residence.

Moving from Colorado?
If a person with a Colorado permit to carry a concealed weapon establishes residency in another state, the permit expires upon the establishment of residence in the other state.

COLORADO CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE APPLICATION PROCESS

Step One:

Complete a firearm training course if required.

Step Two:

Download the application or pick up from your local sheriff’s office.

Step Three:

Take your completed, unsigned application to your local sheriff’s office. You will need the following documents:

  • Training certificate
  • Drivers license or state ID
  • Passport-style photo taken within the last thirty days
  • Proof of residency.

You will be fingerprinted.

Step Four:

You will be notified if your application has been approved.

COLORADO CONCEALED CARRY LICENSE RENEWAL PROCESS

Step One:

Applicants can download renewal applications or get one at your local sheriff’s office. 

Step Two:

Renewals may be submitted up to 60 days following expiration and up to 120 days prior. Renewal fees vary by county ($63 in Arapahoe and $35 in Jefferson, for example).

Applicants should be prepared to submit proof of residency, their existing or expired permit, photo ID, and proof of firearms competency. There is typically a $15 late fee for renewing after 60 days, and anyone seeking to renew after six months must submit a new application.

Step Three:

You will be notified if your application has been approved.

Concealed Carry for Law Enforcement Officers and Retired LEOs

The federal Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act (LEOSA) allows active and retired law enforcement officers (LEOs and RLEOs) to CC anywhere in the U.S. with some restrictions. RLEOs in Colorado have several bodies they can contact when applying for photo ID cards, which are necessary under LEOSA. These include:

  • The police department or local sheriff’s department
  • Correctional law enforcement agencies
  • The Colorado DPS state law enforcement agencies
  • Enforcement agencies of the Department of Revenue
  • The Attorney General
  • Law enforcement agencies of State Colleges and Universities

All these options require a background check on the RLEO, and some may require a fee. Your local sheriff’s department is the best place to start to pursue LEOSA carry status. RLEOs of the Colorado State Patrol have a dedicated avenue for LEOSA application.

Firearms Training & Competency

It’s necessary to complete a state-approved firearms training program for Colorado concealed carry. Training certificates are valid as proof of firearms competency up to a decade after receiving one. There are many ways to achieve your CC qualifications in the state, and these are:

NRA Training

The NRA offers many different kinds and levels of training at a wide range of locations. Use the local training locator to find specific lessons, especially those concerned with local, state, and federal law and firearms safety.

Hunter Safety Courses

Colorado Parks and Wildlife provides hunter education courses for students 11 years old and up. Students may attend classroom courses or complete an online course with an in-person conclusion class. Hunter education is mandatory in Colorado and provides valuable firearms safety and situational awareness skills.

Firearms Safety Courses From Other Providers

Public and private institutions, individuals, colleges, or law enforcement agencies often provide firearms training. Contact your local sheriff if in doubt about a course or instructor’s qualifications.

A Firearms Training Course With a State-Certified Instructor

Concealed Coalition offers firearms training to help you gain a CC license. Our highly trained instructors provide actionable lessons based on their extensive practical experience to ensure you gain tested and reliable skills.

DD Form 214 or Military Orders for Active or Former Military Members

The military document DD 214 is issued when a service member performs active duty or has completed at least 90 consecutive days of active-duty training. A DD 214 can act as proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the United States Armed Forces and is valid to prove firearms training, provided it was received within the three years preceding application. Proof of active military service is also accepted.

Documents from Participation in an Organized Shooting Competition

Applicants who can present certification of handgun experience through participation in an organized shooting competition may consider this sufficient proficiency to CC.

A further method of proving competency is providing a certificate showing retirement from a Colorado law enforcement agency that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the 10 years preceding submittal of the application.

Any training certification submitted must be the original with the instructor’s signature or a photocopy with the original instructor’s signature. The certified instructors at Concealed Coalition will teach you the applicable laws for your state and how to carry and fire a firearm safely. Training is available across the U.S. and online, so contact us to sign up or ask any questions.

Get Certified for a Colorado Concealed Carry Permit Today

Our network of firearms professionals are holding training classes and in-person certification courses throughout Colorado. Use our certification locator to enroll in an upcoming firearms training course near you today, or visit our Colorado concealed carry permitting resource for online certification.

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