Colorado Gun Laws, Tips and Answers

How to buy a firearm in Colorado?

In Colorado, anyone who buys or transfers a firearm must go through a National Instant Criminal Background Check (NICS). This must be done at a licensed firearm dealer (FFL) like Eagles Nest Armory and requires filling out a Department of Justice Firearms Transaction Record Part 1 – Over-the-Counter (ATF Form 4473). If the buyer or person receiving a transfer (transferee) does not pass this check, the firearm purchase can not proceed. Effective July 1, 2013 (HB13-1229), a background check is required for all private transfer of firearms, which must be conducted through a FFL.

Department of Justice Firearms Transaction Record Part 1 – Over-the-Counter (ATF Form 4473) must be filled out completely by the buyer or transferee. Identification must be verified by the FFL.

Have the customer complete the Department of Justice Firearms Transaction Record Part 1 – Over-the-Counter (ATF Form 4473).

  1. If the customer’s answers indicate a prohibition, the transaction can not proceed.
  2. Check the DOB. If the customer is under 21 years of age he/she can not purchase a handgun, but can purchase a long gun.
  3. If the customer is 21 years of age, he/she can purchase either a handgun or long gun.
  4. If the customer did not write out his/her middle name, or only wrote the initial, request the full middle name.
  5. Check the Customers’ State of residence. If customer is not a resident of Colorado they cannot buy a handgun. Colorado residency requirements do not apply for long gun sales. *Per California law, residents of California cannot purchase any firearms in Colorado.
  6. The customers ID must be valid and current. A copy of the valid ID will be make and kept by the FFL.
  7. The customer must pass the background check with a “Proceed” grading from NICS. Denials can be appealed to the Colorado Bureau of Investigations (CBI).


The State of residence is the State in which an individual is present with the intention of making a home in that State. A member of the Armed Forces on active duty is a resident of the State in which his or her permanent duty station is located. If a member of the Armed Forces maintains a home in one state and the member’s permanent duty station is in a nearby State to which he or she commutes each day, then the member may purchase a firearm in either the State where the duty station is located or the State where the home is maintained. A resident alien who is legally in the United States is considered to be a resident of a State only if the alien is residing in that State

According to the Federal Firearms Regulation Reference Guide: The identification document presented by the purchaser must have a photo of the purchaser, name, address, and date of birth, and must be issued by a governmental entity for the purpose of identification of individuals (e.g. Drivers License). Currently, Colorado Concealed Handgun permits do not constitute a valid ID for the purposes of the firearms background check. However, a Colorado Concealed Handgun permit with a current address may be used to establish residence when the valid ID does not.

What are Colorado's laws concerning firearms?

These two statutes regarding firearms are enforceable by any certified peace officer in the state. It is important to note that even though the laws differ in their language it is an individual’s responsibility to abide by all sections of each statute in order to be in compliance.

Title 18: Colorado allows a person to carry a firearm in a vehicle if its use is for lawful protection of such person or another’s person or property [C.R.S. 18-12-105(2)]. Colorado law also allows a person to possess a handgun in a dwelling, place of business, or automobile. However, when you carry the weapon into your home, business, hotel room, etc. it must be in plain view. Local jurisdictions may not enact laws that restrict a person’s ability to travel with a weapon [C.R.S. 18-12-105.6]. The Act permits the nationwide carrying of concealed handguns by qualified current and retired law enforcement officers and amends the Gun Control Act of 1968 (Pub. L. 90-618, 82 Stat. 1213) to exempt qualified current and retired law enforcement officers from state and local laws prohibiting the carry of concealed firearms.

Title 33: In accordance with Colorado wildlife laws, including C.R.S. 33-6-125, you may carry a weapon in your vehicle. However 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. 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.

For more information about Colorado Parks and Wildlife statutes and regulations visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website

Is it legal to carry a weapon in Colorado National Forests?

While visiting National Forests in Colorado, you may carry a weapon. However, in addition to state laws, you must comply with Federal Regulations pertaining to the use of a firearm on National Forest System lands.

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)].

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.

How do I transport firearms through National Parks in Colorado?

In accordance with 16 USC 1a-7b, in any national park, a person may possess a firearm if such possession is in compliance with the laws of the State in which the national park area is located. Therefore, in any national park in the State of Colorado, Colorado’s laws would apply. Another Federal statute, in particular 18 USC 930, prohibits firearms or other dangerous weapons within a “Federal facility,” defined as a “a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.” In national parks, such facilities may include visitor centers, administrative offices, and/or maintenance buildings. Any such facilities will be clearly marked with signs at all public entrances. For more information about national parks, and park-specific regulations, visit the National Park Service website and search by park name, location (state), activity, or topic.

How do I obtain a Concealed Weapon Permit?

A permit to carry a concealed weapon may be obtained through the Sheriff of the county in which you live. You must meet certain requirements to qualify for the permit [C.R.S. 18-12-203]. Consult your local Sheriff’s Department for more information obtaining a permit. The permit and valid photo identification must be carried with the handgun at all times. A permit is not required and a handgun is not considered concealed when a person is in a private automobile or other private transportation [C.R.S. 18-12-105 (2)].

What is Colorado's Out of State Permit Reciprocity?

A permit to carry a concealed weapon that is issued to a person (who is at least 21 years of age) by another state will be considered valid in Colorado if the other state, in turn, recognized Colorado’s concealed handgun permits [C.R.S. 18-12-105.6]. Check Colorado’s reciprocity with other states.

Am I required to register my weapon in the State of Colorado?

The State of Colorado prohibits gun registration [CRS 29-11.7-102].

The preceding is not an all inclusive list of Colorado Firearms laws. It is just a beginning level of information about firearms laws and good practices and should not be relied upon as legal advice.

Choosing a Firearm’s Instructor

When you purchase a firearm for personal and home security, it’s only best to get professional training. Seek the aid of a licensed, certified, and insured instructor in learning how to use firearms properly. Purchasing a firearm at Eagles Nest Armory is only the first step toward personal or home security. Learning how to use that weapon accurately and safely will ensure you receive the most from your firearm investment. These tips can help you find the right instructor for you.

Check Employment Background

Be sure they are certified and insured. Instructors with a military, police, or FBI background will more than likely have the know-how and experience to provide gun owners with the training they need.

You Should Feel Comfortable With Your Instructor

You should like your teacher and have confidence in his or her abilities to teach. A good instructor will:

  1. Be patient and thorough in his or her training.
  2. Take time to answer students’ questions and explain why certain rules or procedures are important in their training,.
  3. Instructors should also portray a positive attitude toward their students’ ability to learn firearm skills.

In like manner, firearm students will need to make a commitment to continuing practice and training to benefit from the instruction they receive.

Firearm Schools

Another training option is to enroll in a firearm school. Search online to find firearm schools that are close to the area where you live. Good schools will have NRA certified instructors who have completed instructor courses and are qualified to teach firearm use and safety. Firearm safety is of vital importance in firearm training. Reputable firearm schools should offer money-back guarantees for the services they provide, ensuring you get the most from your training investment.

Owning a personal firearm is a great responsibility. Those who take this responsibility seriously will make every effort to learn how to handle that firearm accurately and safely. Finding a good firearm instructor for personal firearm training is key to new gun owners learning how to handle their weapon safely for the protection of their home and family. Once you purchase your firearm, lifelong learning and frequent practice are paramount.