Having a weapon for your personal protection can be the difference between life and death, so what's the law in Colorado when it comes to open carrying a firearm?

According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, "the actual open carrying of firearms is regulated by local county and municipal authorities."

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Is it Legal to Open Carry in Colorado?

Across most of the state of Colorado, you'll find that it's perfectly legal to open carry a firearm if you are eligible to possess a firearm.

However, the Colorado Revised Statute 29-11.7-104, states that:

"A local government may enact an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area within the local government’s jurisdiction.

If a local government enacts an ordinance, regulation, or other law that prohibits the open carrying of a firearm in a building or specific area, the local government shall post signs at the public entrances to the building or specific area informing persons that the open carrying of firearms is prohibited in the building or specific area"

Who Is Eligible to Open Carry In Colorado?

In the state of Colorado, residents of the state age 18 and older, "may legally possess a handgun and one could be transferred to them as a bona fide gift from an immediate family member. (CRS 18-12-108.5)"

A state permit is not required to purchase a firearm in Colorado and an owner's license is also not required.

Thanks to CRS 29-11.7-102, there is no registry for firearms in the state of Colorado due to the legality of firearms databases.

(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.

Do I Need A Permit to Open Carry in Colorado?

A permit is not required to open carry in the state of Colorado.

However, a permit is required in the state of Colorado in order to carry a concealed weapon. Under C.R.S. 18-12-105 it is a class 2 misdemeanor if a person knowingly and unlawfully "carries a firearm concealed on or about his or her person."

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]

Who Cannot Open Carry in Colorado?

If any of the following applies to you, then you may not open carry a firearm in the state of Colorado:

  • Are under the age of 18
  • Are legally prohibited from owning a firearm due to being convicted of a felony and/or domestic violence misdemeanors

Counties In Colorado That Do Not Allow Open Carry

Under C.R.S. 29-11.7-104, local county and municipal authorities can determine the legality of open carry.

In the county of Denver, open carry of firearms is prohibited. The Denver Revised Municipal Code 38-117 on the unlawful possession of dangerous weapons states that:
"It shall be unlawful for any person, except for a law enforcement officer or a person acting with a valid authorization from the city, to possess on their person, in any motor vehicle, or in any structure, any of the following:

  • (a) An illegal knife;

  • (b) A non-serialized firearm;

  • (c) Brass knuckles or artificial knuckles;

  • (d) An incendiary or explosive device

  • (e) Any obstruction equipment, with the intent to use the object either by itself or in combination with other objects to obstruct the public's ability to freely move about on roadways, sidewalks, or into or out of buildings, or for inhibiting emergency equipment from being moved without impediment or delay; or

  • (f) Any item, weapon, or noxious substance with the intent to use the weapon, item, or noxious substance for the purpose of defeating crowd dispersal measures."

What Establishments Prohibit Open Carry in Colorado?

In the state of Colorado, any local municipalities that prohibit open carry must post signs at the public entrances to the building or specific area informing persons that the open carrying of firearms is prohibited.

These are the most common places where you can not open carry a firearm:

  • Federal properties (IE: post offices, airports, courthouses, etc)
  • Public and private schools
  • Public transportation facilities (unless the gun is unloaded)

Please be aware that you are also not permitted to carry a concealed weapon in the places listed above.

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According to Safewise, the crimes that Coloradans are most concerned with, are violent crimes, property crimes, package thefts, and gun violence. See the full list of Safewise's most dangerous and safest Colorado cities here.

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