Posted on January 2, 2012
Last updated May 7, 2013
In our publication Gun Laws Matter 2012: Understanding the Link Between Weak Laws and Gun Violence, the Law Center ranked each state based on a review of state laws in 29 different firearm-related policy areas. Colorado ranked 22nd out of 50 – having enacted a limited number of gun violence prevention laws. Since that ranking, however, Colorado has significantly improved its public safety laws involving firearms. 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;
- Requires that mentally ill individuals who are ineligible to possess firearms be reported to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the agency that processes firearm purchaser background checks; and
- Effective July 1, 2013, prohibits the sale, transfer and possession of certain large-capacity ammunition magazines.
Colorado does not, however:
- Require firearm dealers to obtain a state license;
- Require firearm owners to obtain a license, register their firearms, or report lost or stolen firearms;
- Impose a waiting period on firearm purchases;
- Limit the number of firearms that may be purchased at one time;
- Regulate unsafe handguns;
- Significantly regulate ammunition sales; or
- Provide law enforcement discretion to deny a concealed handgun permit.
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 Firearms Laws
For details about specific firearms laws in Colorado, choose a topic below, or see all of the firearms laws in this state.