For the past 12 years, I’ve trained everyday Americans to become concealed carriers. I’ve helped them become comfortable and confident with carrying daily.
After training over 30,000 new concealed carry permit holders, I took the next step in my career and began mentoring and coaching experienced shooters to become Certified Firearm Instructors.
My brother Tony became one of those instructors.
Now he’s starting to give concealed carry classes in Colorado Springs, Colorado!
While working with Tony to start his classes, I jumped in and started learning Colorado laws.
Here are the Top 5 Things You Need to Know Before Carrying Concealed in Colorado. Keep in mind – I’m not a lawyer, this is not legal advice, and simply my opinion after studying the law for the last 12 years.
1. “No Firearms Allowed” on a Private Business Means Nothing Legally.
In almost all states, signs like the one above mean nothing legally – and any private business can post them on their doors. Movie theaters, Walmarts, Targets, and even restaurants sometimes have signs like this.
In most cases, these signs mean nothing.
A business representative can ask you to leave at any time for any reason.
If they don’t like your attitude, the way you dress, or whether you are carrying a gun – they can ask you to leave.
If you don’t immediately exit the business, you can be charged with trespass for refusing to leave. In some states, trespassing with a firearm becomes a felony – so leaving is absolutely your best option.
But in Colorado, these signs are a bit vaguer legally.
The best resource I’ve seen on the topic has been from Attorney Timothy J. Priebe, who concludes:
I am carrying concealed, I have my CHP card on me and somehow I mistakenly allow my gun to be seen by someone in the mall. I am then approached by someone in authority. I am told that the store does not allow any type of firearms in the store and I am asked to leave. At that point, I am still legal? Yes, I believe so. How do you proceed from that point? You keep your hands away from your handgun, you stop what you are doing and you comply with their request. I do not see a case for trespassing at that point.Timothy Priebe, Esq “SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO? A CHP HOLDER’S DILEMMA”
Here’s the “Sorta” Issue:
As Attorney Timothy Priebe concludes above, you cannot be arrested for carrying a firearm into a private business unless you refuse to leave.
This is NOT the case if these signs are posted on a government building.
See more below.
2. “No Firearms Allowed” Signs on Government Property – Or Some Others – WILL Get You in Trouble.
Colorado law is clear about its regulations for where a concealed carry permit holder cannot legally carry.
The good news: Areas prohibited by law must have clear and conspicuous signage indicating that firearms are not allowed.
Colorado Statute 18-12-214 allows local ordinances and cities to come up with their own legally off-limits areas. For instance, while Colorado is an open-carry state, Denver County generally prohibits open carry.
While it’s best to look up local ordinances before you travel somewhere new, here’s a list of places off-limits state-wide.
Do Not Carry:
- Into or onto any public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school, (It’s OK to leave it locked in a compartment in your vehicle if your vehicle is also locked.)
- Into or onto any college campus in which governing board has decided not to allow firearms on the property (signs MUST be posted!)
- Into any location where metal detectors are used
3. It’s illegal to carry a firearm on a snowmobile unless it’s unloaded and in a case.
You read that correctly.
Colorado law doesn’t allow you to run around on a snowmobile hunting Big Foot.
Or anything else.
While you CAN carry a handgun on your person while snowmobiling, Colorado law makes it illegal to have a gun on the snowmobile in any other way.
Here’s the exact law as it is written:
Except as provided in subsection (1.5) of this section, It is unlawful for any person to: (a) Hunt any wildlife from a snowmobile; (b) Operate or ride on any snowmobile with any firearm other than a pistol or a revolver in the person’s possession, unless the firearm is unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case or inserted in a scabbard, or with any bow unless it is unstrung or cased; except that this subsection (1)(b) does not apply to a person to whom the division has issued a permit for the control of predators such as coyotes, foxes, and bobcats…L. 2020: (1) amended and (1.5) added, (HB 20-1087), ch. 49, p. 171, § 10,.
4. If you have a concealed carry permit, it’s legal to concealed carry while using public transportation.
This one sort of gets confusing.
Here’s what the actual law says:
A person commits a class 6 felony if, without legal authority, he has any loaded firearm or explosive or incendiary device, as defined in section 9-7-103, C.R.S., in his possession in, or carries, brings, or causes to be carried or brought any of such items into, any facility of public transportation, as defined in section 18-9115 (4).L. 77: Entire section added, p. 976, § 7, effective June 29.L. 89: Entire section amended, p. 841, § 89, effective July 1.
The highlighted words above show that it’s a felony to carry a loaded firearm into any facility of public transportation “without legal authority.”
Your concealed carry permit is your legal authority.
A couple of things worth noting:
- Denver International Airport has signs which say it is a felony to carry a firearm into the airport or on any plane.
- That statute is correct… unless you have the “legal authority” to do so – which is your concealed carry permit.
- Don’t mess with this one. Leave your gun in the car.
5. You don’t need to inform law enforcement upon contact that you have a firearm in your possession.
You don’t need to tell them.
But I’ve found one thing to be true: Happy cops don’t write as many tickets.
While you don’t need to let law enforcement know upon contact that you’re carrying concealed, I always do!
Better that they’re not surprised later on during the traffic stop.
6. You ARE allowed to carry in parks.
Here are the parks you are allowed to carry a firearm into:
- State Parks
- State/National Forests
- State Wildlife Management Areas
- Road Side Rest Areas
Be careful though – because technically, Colorado Statute 18-12-214 allows government buildings to post signs which make it illegal to carry. Look for those signs! Don’t fall into a trap.