Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

What Are Colorado’s Firearms Laws?

Knowing the law is important for anyone who owns a firearm. If you are placed under arrest and charged with a weapons violation in or near the Denver area, you must obtain the advice and services of a Denver weapons attorney, and you must call that attorney as quickly as possible.

Colorado honors and protects the right to bear arms. This state allows you to carry a firearm in a vehicle for your own protection or the protection of another person or property. Colorado also allows you to keep a handgun in your residence or business. However, when you carry a weapon into your residence or business, it must be in plain view.

And under the state’s wildlife laws, it is illegal, except for a person authorized by law, to possess or have any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of that firearm is not loaded.

What Weapons Are Unlawful to Own in Colorado?

Colorado law specifies who may use, own, or carry a firearm and what kinds of firearms are allowed. It is unlawful in Colorado to possess weapons that are defined by state law as “dangerous” or “illegal” weapons.

The list of weapons that are defined as “dangerous” includes short shotguns, short rifles, machine guns, firearm silencers, and ballistic knives. The possession of any of these weapons is charged as a Class 5 felony for a first offense.

Second and subsequent offenses for the possession of a dangerous weapon are prosecuted as Class 4 felonies. A “dangerous” weapon need not be operable if it can become operable by adding an easily replaceable part or by making a fast repair.

Are There Exceptions to the Dangerous Weapons Ban?

Yes, there are exceptions. You may legally own any of the following items if you have paid for and possess a federal tax stamp issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF):

  1.  fully-automatic weapons
  2.  short-barreled rifles (with barrels less than 16 inches long)
  3.  short-barreled shotguns (with barrels less than 18 inches long)
  4.  suppressors

What Other Weapon-Related Laws Has Colorado Established?

Gas guns, blackjacks, and metallic knuckles are considered “illegal” weapons in Colorado, and it is a misdemeanor to possess any of these items. Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon is only one of several weapon-related crimes in Colorado. It is also against the law in this state to:

  1.  carry a concealed weapon without a concealed carry permit
  2.  carry a weapon onto the grounds of a school, college, or university
  3.  illegally buy or sell a firearm
  4.  shoot a firearm (or even an arrow) on or across a public thoroughfare

How Can You Challenge a Weapons Charge?

If you are charged with the possession of a dangerous or illegal weapon in the Denver area, contact a Denver firearms lawyer at once. Your lawyer will investigate the charge, review the evidence, and may seek to have the charge dropped by the prosecutor or dismissed by the court.

If that’s not possible, your defense lawyer may seek to negotiate a plea deal (especially if the case against you is strong) or take your case to trial. At a firearms violation trial, your attorney may offer one or several of these defenses to persuade the jurors to return a not guilty verdict:

  1.  You did not know that you possessed the weapon, or you did not know that it was illegal.
  2.  The weapon wasn’t operable and could not easily be made operable.
  3.  The weapon was uncovered during an illegal search in violation of your rights.
  4.  You had a valid license and permit for the weapon.
  5.  The prosecution has insufficient evidence for a conviction.

Additionally, if you were a law enforcement officer or member of the armed forces of the United States or Colorado National Guard who was acting lawfully, your Denver weapons attorney will offer that fact in your defense.

What Are the Penalties for Firearms Violations in Colorado?

Possessing a “dangerous” weapon is a felony that may be penalized on conviction with a prison sentence and a costly fine. A second conviction for possessing a dangerous weapon may be penalized on conviction with an even lengthier prison sentence and a more expensive fine.

Possessing an “illegal” weapon is a Class 1 misdemeanor that may be penalized on conviction with a jail term and a fine. Also in this state:

  1.  Carrying a concealed weapon without a concealed carry permit is a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable upon conviction with jail time and a fine.
  2.  Unlawfully carrying a weapon on school grounds is a Class 6 felony punishable upon conviction with a prison sentence and an expensive fine.
  3.  The unlawful purchase of a firearm is a Class 4 felony also punishable upon conviction with a prison term and a costly fine.
  4.  Illegally aiming or discharging a firearm is a Class 1 misdemeanor, but a second offense within five years of the first will be prosecuted as a Class 5 felony.

If You Are Charged With a Weapons Crime

If you are taken into police custody in Colorado, and you are charged with a weapons crime, be polite, but do not answer any questions until you can speak with a lawyer. You can say, “I prefer not to answer any questions until my lawyer can be here,” and then say no more.

If you have already been charged with a weapons violation, or if this happens in the future, you must be defended by a Denver firearms lawyer who will protect your rights, fight aggressively for the justice you need, and bring your case to its best possible resolution.

Choosing the Right Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a firearms crime in or near the Denver area, you can’t risk your freedom, your finances, and your future with an inexperienced attorney. Attorney Daniel Murphy will fight effectively on your behalf.

Daniel Murphy is a seasoned, veteran Denver criminal defense attorney. He has successfully represented clients for more than twenty-five years. He will provide an honest evaluation of your case, and if necessary, a vigorous defense in the courtroom.

If you are charged with a firearms crime, your first legal consultation with attorney Daniel Murphy is offered without obligation or cost. If you are accused of a firearms violation in the Denver area or anywhere in Colorado – now or in the future – immediately contact the offices of attorney Daniel Murphy by calling 303-996-8998.

Dan Murphy
By: Dan Murphy

Denver criminal defense lawyer Daniel M. Murphy provides clients in the Denver area with aggressive and sympathetic legal representation. He graduated from the University of Denver Law School in 1994 and worked as a public defender before starting his own practice in 1996. He has defended clients accused of the most difficult criminal and alcohol-related charges. He also serves as a Moot Court Judge for Denver-area law students who rely on his mentorship.