Is Colorado A Open Carry State?

Colorado, the Centennial State known for its breathtaking natural beauty and vibrant cities like Denver and Boulder. But when it comes to gun laws, many people wonder whether Colorado is an open carry state. Here, we will delve into the specifics of Colorado’s gun laws to determine whether you can openly carry a firearm in the state. So let’s get down to brass tacks and find out if guns are slung wild west style in this Rocky Mountain paradise.

Understanding Open Carry Laws

Before we dive into the nuances of Colorado’s gun laws, let’s take a moment to understand what open carry actually means. Open carry refers to carrying a firearm in plain sight or unconcealed by clothing or other means. It allows individuals to display their firearms without any sort of covering or disguise.

Open carry laws vary from state to state within the United States, with each jurisdiction having its own rules and regulations regarding how guns may be carried openly. Some states have permissive open carry laws that allow anyone who meets certain criteria (such as age restrictions or licensing requirements) to openly carry firearms without further restrictions. Other states impose more stringent regulations, requiring permits or licenses for open carry.

Now that we have a basic understanding of what open carry entails, let’s explore how these laws apply in the great state of Colorado.

The Case of Colorado: An Open Carry State?

Is Colorado considered an open carry state? Yes, indeed it is! However, there are some important factors and exceptions that must be taken into account before hitting the streets with your holstered six-shooter.

H2 Heading 1: Constitutional Rights

Under Article II, Section 13 of the Colorado Constitution, individuals possess broad rights when it comes to bearing arms. This provision explicitly guarantees “[t]he right of no person shall be called in question on account of his or her exercise of gun rights” with certain exceptions.

H2 Heading 2: Permitless Carry

In Colorado, you can openly carry a firearm without obtaining a permit. This is known as permitless carry, also referred to as constitutional carry or unrestricted open carry.

According to the state’s laws, individuals who are at least 18 years old and not prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm have the right to openly carry firearms in most public places. It’s important to note that even though permits are not required for open carry, other restrictions and obligations still apply.

H3 Heading 1: Restrictions on Open Carry

While Colorado allows for permitless open carry, there are several restrictions and limitations that residents and visitors should be aware of:

  1. Prohibited Places: Although you can generally openly carry your firearm in most public areas, specific locations such as K-12 school properties (unless authorized), government buildings with security measures, private property where firearms are prohibited by the owner, and federally restricted areas remain off-limits.
  2. Alcohol and Marijuana Consumption: Under no circumstances should you consume alcohol or marijuana while carrying firearms. Doing so could land you in serious legal trouble.
  3. Interstate Reciprocity Agreements: Colorado recognizes valid out-of-state permits provided they’re issued by states that have reciprocity agreements with Colorado.
  4. Municipal Regulations: While state law allows for open carry, some municipalities within Colorado may have additional regulations or ordinances pertaining to firearms possession within their jurisdiction.

H3 Heading 2: Preemption Laws in Colorado

Another vital aspect of understanding gun laws in any particular state is preemption statutes – these dictate whether local authorities can enforce stricter regulations than what is mandated by state law.

In Colorado, preemption laws exist which severely limit local jurisdictions’ ability to pass more restrictive gun control measures than those already established at the state level1. This consistency across the state helps to avoid a patchwork of regulations that could potentially cause confusion for residents and visitors alike.

Some Interesting Facts About Colorado Gun Laws

Now that we have covered the basics, let’s dive into some interesting and lesser-known facts about gun laws in Colorado:

  1. Open Carry on Private Property: In addition to public spaces, individuals are generally allowed to openly carry firearms on their own private property without any restrictions or permits.
  2. Gun Shows: In Colorado, attending gun shows is legal, and you are free to openly carry your firearm within the confines of the show venue. However, it’s essential to follow the specific rules set by each event organizer.
  3. Stand Your Ground Law: Colorado has a “Stand Your Ground” law which provides legal protections for individuals who use force – including deadly force – against an intruder or assailant under certain circumstances2.
  4. Firearm Transport: When transporting firearms in a vehicle, they must be unloaded and kept in a case or secured container during travel if readily accessible by passengers.
  5. Private Sales Regulation: While federally licensed dealers are required to conduct background checks on potential buyers, private firearm sales between individuals do not require such checks in Colorado as of now3.

But please bear in mind that laws can change over time, so it’s crucial always to stay updated with current regulations before engaging in any activities involving firearms.

Colorado can indeed be considered as an open carry state due to its permitless carry provisions; however, there are still restrictions and responsibilities that one should keep in mind when exercising this right. As with any topic related to guns and firearm ownership, responsible behavior and adherence to all applicable laws is key.

So remember folks: know your rights but also know your limitations. Stay safe out there!

Fact Box

Name Value
Minimum Age 18 years old (for open carry)
Permit Required No
Prohibited Places K-12 school properties, government buildings with security measures, privately owned areas where firearms are prohibited by the owner, federally restricted areas4
Preemption Laws Yes1


This article provides a general overview of Colorado’s open carry laws and is not intended as legal advice. Be sure to consult with legal professionals or authoritative sources for specific guidance based on your circumstances.

FAQ: Is Colorado An Open Carry State?

Q: Can I openly carry a firearm in Colorado?
A: Yes, Colorado is an open carry state. You may openly carry a firearm without a permit or license as long as you are over 18 years old and not prohibited by law from possessing a firearm.

Q: Are there any restrictions on open carry in Colorado?
A: While open carry is generally allowed, certain restrictions apply. For example, it is illegal to openly carry a firearm in public buildings, schools, colleges/universities, and certain areas designated as prohibited places. It’s advisable to familiarize yourself with the specific regulations outlined in Colorado’s gun laws.

Q: Do I need a permit to open carry in Colorado?
A: No, you do not need a permit or license to open carry firearms in Colorado. However, if you choose to conceal your weapon instead of carrying it openly, you must obtain a concealed handgun permit.

Q: Can local authorities enforce additional restrictions on open carrying firearms?
A: No, according to Colorado state law (C. R. S ยง 29-11. 7-104), local authorities cannot enact their own laws or regulations regarding the possession and carrying of firearms that are more restrictive than those at the state level. The statewide provisions governing open carry apply uniformly across all jurisdictions within the state.

Q: What should I do if law enforcement questions me while I am openly carrying my firearm?
A: If approached by law enforcement while openly carrying your firearm, remain calm and comply with their requests. It’s important to follow their instructions carefully and keep your hands visible at all times to ensure everyone’s safety during the encounter. Cooperating with law enforcement is crucial for avoiding any unnecessary complications.