Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines in Colorado

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015

Colorado prohibits the sale, transfer and possession of a “large-capacity magazine.”1

“Large-capacity magazine” means:

  • A fixed or detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device capable of accepting, or that is designed to be readily converted to accept, more than 15 rounds of ammunition;
  • A fixed, tubular shotgun magazine that holds more than 28 inches of shotgun shells, including any extension device that is attached to the magazine and holds additional shotgun shells; or
  • A nontubular, detachable magazine, box, drum, feed strip, or similar device that is capable of accepting more than eight shotgun shells when combined with a fixed magazine.2

“Large-capacity magazine” does not include:

  • A feeding device that has been permanently altered so that it cannot accommodate more than fifteen rounds of ammunition;
  • An attached tubular device designed to accept, and capable of operating only with, .22 rimfire ammunition; or
  • A tubular magazine that is contained in a lever-action firearm.3

A large-capacity magazine that is manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013, must include a permanent stamp or marking indicating that the large-capacity magazine was manufactured or assembled after July 1, 2013.  The stamp or marking must be legibly and conspicuously engraved or cast upon the outer surface of the large-capacity magazine.  The Colorado Bureau of Investigation may create rules for implementing this requirement, including additional identification information on each large-capacity magazine.4

Exceptions – A person may possess a large-capacity magazine if they owned the large-capacity magazine on or prior to July 1, 2013, and maintain continuous possession of the magazine.5  When a person charged with illegal possession of a large-capacity magazine claims to fall under this exception, the burden of proof is on the prosecution to prove otherwise.6

The large-capacity magazine ban does not apply to military or police agents that carry a firearm in the course of their official duties.  The ban also does not apply to an entity or employee of an entity engaged in the manufacture of large-capacity magazines within Colorado solely for transfer to any licensed gun dealer that sells large-capacity magazines exclusively to the armed forces, government agencies, a retailer operating outside of the state of Colorado, or a foreign national government approved by the U.S. for such transfers.7

See our Large Capacity Ammunition Magazines policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(1)(a). A violation of this prohibition will be punishable as a Class 2 misdemeanor, and it is a Class 6 felony to possess a large-capacity magazine during the commission of a felony or crime of violence. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(1)(a), (c). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-301(2)(a). []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-301(2)(b). []
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-303. []
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(2)(a). []
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(2)(b). []
  7. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-302(3). []

Prohibited Purchasers Generally in Colorado

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015

See our Prohibited Purchasers policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is required to deny the transfer of a firearm when:

  • The transfer would violate federal law;
  • The transfer would violate Colorado law;
  • The transferee has been arrested for or charged with a crime that would prohibit him or her from purchasing, receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law, and there has been no final disposition of the case or the final disposition has not been noted in the databases searched by CBI during a firearm transferee’s background check; or
  • The transferee is the subject of an indictment, information or a felony complaint alleging that the prospective transferee has committed a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year as defined by federal law.1

Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, using, or carrying upon his or her person a firearm subsequent to:

  • The person’s conviction for a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law; or
  • The person’s adjudication for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law.2

For provisions prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Colorado.

Firearm transfers by unlicensed sellers (non-firearms dealers) are subject to background checks in Colorado. See the  Universal Background Checks in Colorado section.

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 24-33.5-424(3)(a), (b). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108(1), (3). []

Alabama State Law Summary

Posted on Monday, July 6th, 2015



While Alabama does require handgun dealers to obtain a state license, this requirement does not apply to dealers who only sell rifles and shotguns. In addition, Alabama does not:

Local governments in Alabama generally lack authority to regulate firearms or ammunition.

In 2013, Alabama had the sixth highest number of gun deaths per capita among the states. In addition, based on data published by Mayors Against Illegal Guns (“MAIG”), in 2009 Alabama ranked fifth among the states in the rate of crime gun exports – guns originally purchased in that state that were recovered after being used in a crime in another state. Alabama exports crime guns at a rate that is more than double the national average, and more than double the rate at which it imports crime guns from other states.

Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

In Colorado, any person under age 18 may not knowingly possess a handgun, except:

  • When in attendance at a hunter’s or firearms safety course;
  • During lawful firearm or target shooting;
  • During certain organized competitions or performances;
  • When hunting or trapping with a valid state license;
  • When traveling to or from such activities as previously noted;
  • When on property under the control of the person’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent with the permission of such person’s parent, legal guardian or grandparent; or
  • When at the person’s residence, with the permission of the person’s parent or legal guardian, for the purpose of lawful self-defense.1

Colorado does not provide a minimum age to possess rifles or shotguns. Colorado also provides no minimum age for the purchase of a handgun or a long gun, although federal age restrictions still apply.

For additional age-related restrictions, see the Colorado Child Access Prevention section.

See our Minimum Age to Purchase & Possess Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108.5(1), (2). []

Disarming Prohibited Persons in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Colorado enacted a law in 2013 to remove guns from the hands of domestic abusers. See Domestic Violence and Firearms in Colorado for more information about that law.

Colorado has no law requiring the removal of firearms from other persons who have become prohibited from possessing them. However, Colorado law provides that, upon the discharge of any inmate from the custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections, the Department must provide a written advisement to the inmate that it is a crime if the person knowingly possesses, uses, or carries upon his or her person a firearm subsequent to the person’s conviction for a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony. Any written stipulation for a deferred judgment and sentence must contain the same written advisement.1

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108. []

Mental Health Reporting in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

See our Mental Health Reporting policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue. Federal law prohibits possession of a firearm or ammunition by any person who has been “adjudicated as a mental defective” or involuntarily “committed to any mental institution.”1 No federal law, however, requires states to report the identities of these individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) database, which the FBI uses to perform background checks prior to firearm transfers.

In 2013, Colorado clarified its mental health reporting requirements, as part of the same bill that requires background checks before unlicensed firearms sales.  The State Court Administrator must now send electronically to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI)  the name of each person determined by the court to be:

  • incapacitated by court order;
  • committed to the custody of the Colorado Department of Human Services that administers behavioral health programs including those related to mental health and substance abuse;
  • ordered for involuntary certification for short-term treatment of mental illness;
  • ordered for extended certification for treatment of mental illness; or
  • ordered for long-term care and treatment for mental illness.

The State Court Administrator must make such a report not more than 48 hours after receiving notification of a person who meets the above descriptions.  However, the State Court Administrator must take all necessary steps to cancel a record in the NICS system if:

  • The person to whom the record pertains makes a written request to the State Court Administrator; and
  • No less than three years before the date of the written request:
    • The period of commitment of the most recent order of commitment expired; or
    • A court entered an order terminating the person’s incapacity or discharging the person from commitment in the nature of habeas corpus, if the record in the NICS system is based on an order of commitment to the custody of the unit in the department of human services that administers behavioral health programs and services, including those related to mental health and substance abuse.2

The State Court Administrator must not cancel any record pertaining to a person with respect to whom two recommitment orders have been entered or who was discharged from treatment on the grounds that further treatment will not likely bring about significant improvement in the person’s condition.3 If a court becomes aware that the basis upon which a record reported by the State Court Administrator to CBI does not apply or no longer applies, the court must:

  • Update, correct, modify, or remove the record from any database that the federal or state government maintains and makes available to NICS, consistent with rules pertaining to the database; and
  • Notify the Attorney General that such basis does not apply or no longer applies.4

The 2013 law set forth a judicial procedure for restoring a person’s gun eligibility after being subject to the federal firearm prohibitions for the dangerously mentally ill, pursuant to the federal NICS Act of 2007.5

Colorado specifically authorizes the obtaining, accessing, use or disclosure of relevant medical records or medical information for firearm purchaser background checks purposes by CBI, the clerk of the court of any judicial district, the clerk of the probate court of the city and county of Denver, or by any of their employees, as well as accessing such records and information through the NICS system.6 For general information on the background check process and categories of prohibited purchasers or possessors, see the Colorado Background Checks section and the section entitled Colorado Prohibited Purchasers Generally.

  1. 18 U.S.C. § 922(d)(4). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(1)-(3); 13-9-123(1)-(3). []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(3)(b)(II); 13-9-123(3)(b)(II). []
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 13-5-142(4); 13-9-123(4). []
  5. See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-5-142.5; 13-9-124. []
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-4-412(4). []

Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Colorado has no law restricting sales or purchases of multiple firearms.

See our  Multiple Purchases & Sales of Firearms for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Retention of Sales & Background Check Records in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

In 2013, Colorado began requiring unlicensed transfers of firearms to be preceded by a background check processed by a licensed dealer.  The dealer is required to comply with all state and federal laws as if he or she were transferring the firearm from his or her inventory to the prospective transferee.  Consequently, the federal law requiring dealers to maintain records of sales applies.1  Colorado law adds that the dealer must provide a copy of the results of the background check to both the unlicensed seller making the firearm transfer, and the party receiving the firearm.2

Colorado law also requires any person or entity engaged in the retail sale of firearms to record each handgun transfer, including the purchaser’s or transferee’s name, age, occupation and address; the make, caliber, finish, and serial number of the handgun; and the date and the name of the transferring employee. These records must be available for inspection by law enforcement “at all times.”3 The time period for retention of these records is unspecified.

An administrative regulation of the Colorado Bureau of Identification (CBI) provides that any information pertaining to an approved individual that is collected or created pursuant to a background check for a firearm transfer must be destroyed within 24 hours of the issuance of the approval. CBI must maintain the transaction number, the date and time of its issuance, and the firearms dealer to whom it was relayed.4

See our Retention of Firearm Sales & Background Check Records policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(2). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-112(2)(b), (c).  See the  Universal Background Checks in Colorado section for further information. []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 12-26-102. []
  4. 8 Colo. Code Regs. § 1507-20. []

Waiting Periods in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Colorado does not impose a specific waiting period between the completion of a firearm purchase and the actual transfer of the firearm to the purchaser. See the Colorado Background Checks section for information about the process when a background check cannot be completed.

See our Waiting Periods policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Guns in Schools in Colorado

Posted on Sunday, July 5th, 2015

Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carrying, bringing, or having in his or her possession a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded,1 in or on the property of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high or vocational school, or any public or private college, university or seminary.2 Exceptions to this prohibition include:

  • Presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class;
  • Carrying out the necessary duties of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon;
  • Participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team;
  • Possession of a firearm in the lawful possessor’s dwelling or place of business, or on property owned or under that person’s control at the time of possession;
  • Possession in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for protection of that person, another person, or their property while traveling;
  • Possession of a handgun pursuant to a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit, except if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the state law described below that prohibits possession of a concealed handgun onto the property of a elementary, middle, junior high, or high school;
  • Possession of a firearm by a school resource officer when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency; or
  • Possession of a firearm for use in an educational program approved by a school that includes, but is not limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.3

A concealed handgun permittee may only carry a handgun on the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high or high school if he or she is: 1) on duty as a security guard for the school; 2) within his or her private vehicle (if the permittee is not with the vehicle, the handgun must be within a closed compartment within the locked vehicle); or 3) upon undeveloped property owned by a school district used for hunting or shooting sports.4  This provision does not apply to colleges, universities, and seminaries. Colorado requires the expulsion of any student who is determined to have brought a firearm to a school, or to have possessed a firearm at a school, for a period of not less than one year, except that the superintendent of the school district may modify this requirement for a student on a case-by-case basis if such modification is in writing. 5 In 2012, the Supreme Court of Colorado held that Colorado Concealed Carry Act’s comprehensive statewide purpose, broad language, and  narrow exclusions show that the Colorado General Assembly intended to divest the Board of Regents of its authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on University of Colorado campuses.6 See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

  1. As defined under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-901(3)(e). []
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1). []
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1), (3). []
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-214(3). []
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-106(1.5). []
  6. See Regents of the Univ. of Colo. v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus, 271 P.3d 496 (Colo. 2012). []