Colorado State Law Summary

Posted on January 2, 2012


Last updated December 9, 2013

In our publication 2013 State Scorecard: Why Gun Laws Matter, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 30 different firearms-related policy areas. Colorado ranked 15th out of 50 – having enacted some gun violence prevention laws.

In 2013, the Colorado legislature enacted new laws that relate to firearms. These new laws are described below.

enacted in 2013

Laws that Strengthen Gun Regulation

CO H 1224 Bans sale, transfer and possession of large capacity ammunition magazines.
CO H 1229 Requires background checks for private sales and mental health reporting to NICS.
CO S 195 Prohibits online training for concealed weapon permit applicants.
CO S 197 Provides mechanisms to help disarm domestic violence perpetrators.


Among other things, Colorado:

  • Regulates all private transfers of firearms, including at gun shows, and requires that all firearm transfers, with very limited exceptions, be processed by a licensed firearms dealer prior to transfer;
  • Conducts its own background checks on firearm purchasers through licensed dealers and denies a firearm sale if the background check cannot be completed within the three-day statutory period;

Colorado does not, however:

Local governments in Colorado, with the exception of Denver, generally lack authority to regulate firearms or ammunition.

In 2010, Colorado ranked 25th in the number of gun deaths per capita among the states. 555 people died from firearms injuries in Colorado in that year. Colorado is also a crime gun exporter. Based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in 2009, Colorado exported crime guns at almost twice the rate at which it imported them – in other words, guns that had been originally purchased in Colorado were recovered after being used in crimes in other states at twice the rate at which crime guns originally purchased outside Colorado were then recovered inside Colorado. Colorado ranked 19th in the number of crime guns exported.

Colorado Firearms Laws

For details about specific firearms laws in Colorado, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.