Open Carry

Can I Open Carry in Colorado? YES. But this is not a simple yes; unfortunately, it is quite complicated.

What exactly is Open Carry? There is no statutory definition of open carry.  But put simply, it is the carrying of a firearm that is not concealed.

Does it matter if it is loaded or not? SOMETIMES.

In general, it does not change things legally if it is loaded or not. For example, in your car, the law does prohibit long guns with a round chambered, but not handguns. These are based on hunting laws.  But the law concerning weapons “in facilities of public transportation” does specify “any loaded firearm.” Technically, an unloaded firearm would be legal, but a violation of this law is a felony, so arguing loaded v. unloaded is some very thin ice to skate on.

33-6-125. Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.

It is unlawful to possess any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of 

such firearm is unloaded. For the purposes of this section, a "muzzle-loader" shall be considered unloaded if it is not primed, and, for such purpose, "primed" means having a percussion cap on the nipple or flint in the striker and powder in the flash pan.

18-9-118. Firearms, explosives, or incendiary devices in facilities of public transportation.

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 18-9-115 (4).

Who can Open Carry? Anybody who can legally possess a handgun.

 

Generally, if you can own it, you can open carry it.  For a handgun, anyone who is over 18 and not a prohibited possessor.  Please see this section for more information. Who is prohibited from firearm possession and under what law is a whole discussion by itself.  Please check out that part of our FAQ here.

Where can I Open Carry? Everywhere except where specifically prohibited.

Basically, if it is not prohibited, it is allowed. Be very sure of where you can and cannot, as open carry can attract a great deal of attention.  You do not want to unintentionally have that attention drawn to you when you are mistakenly in a prohibited area.

Pueblo's open carry ban in government or private buildings that post "no firearms." on pages 18-20

Where can I not Open Carry?  Several places.

These fit into four main categories: Prohibited by Law Areas, Prohibiting Municipalities, Prohibiting Private Businesses and Prohibiting Private Residences.

Prohibited by Law Areas:

-Facility of public transportation. (If loaded)

18-9-118. Firearms, explosives, or incendiary devices in facilities of public transportation.

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 18-9-115 (4).

18-9-115. Endangering public transportation.

(4) "Facility of public transportation" includes a public conveyance and any area, structure, or device which is designed, adapted, and used to support, guide, control, permit, or facilitate the movement, starting, stopping, takeoff, landing, or servicing of a public conveyance or the loading or unloading of passengers or goods.

-Chambers, galleries, or offices of the general assembly, or a building in which a legislative hearing or meeting is being or is to be conducted

18-12-105. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon - unlawful possession of weapons.

(c) Without legal authority, carries, brings, or has in such person's possession a firearm or any explosive, incendiary, or other dangerous device on the property of or within any building in which the chambers, galleries, or offices of the general assembly, or either house thereof, are located, or in which a legislative hearing or meeting is being or is to be conducted, or in which the official office of any member, officer, or employee of the general assembly is located.

(2) It shall not be an offense if the defendant was:

(c) A person who, at the time of carrying a concealed weapon, held a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, as it existed prior to its repeal, or, if the weapon involved was a handgun, held a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214; or

-School, college, or university grounds.

18-12-105.5. Unlawfully carrying a weapon - unlawful possession of weapons - school, college, or university grounds.

(1) A person commits a class 6 felony if such person knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carries, brings, or has in such person's possession a deadly weapon as defined in section 18-1-901 (3) (e) in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high, or vocational school or any public or private college, university, or seminary, except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class, for the purpose of carrying out the necessary duties and functions of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon, or for the purpose of participation in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team.

(3) It shall not be an offense under this section if:

(a) The weapon is unloaded and remains inside a motor vehicle while upon the real estate of any public or private college, university, or seminary; or

(b) The person is in that person's own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under that person's control at the time of the act of carrying; or

(c) The person is in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance and is carrying a weapon for lawful protection of that person's or another's person or property while traveling; or

(d) The person, at the time of carrying a concealed weapon, held a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, as said section existed prior to its repeal; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or

(d.5) The weapon involved was a handgun and the person held a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or

(e) The person is a peace officer, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency as provided in section 16-2.5-101 (2), C.R.S.; or

(h) The person has possession of the weapon for use in an educational program approved by a school which program includes, but shall not be limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.

-Premises of a Racetrack (Not a crime, but grounds for future denial of racing license.)

12-60-507. Investigation - denial, suspension, and revocation actions against licensees - unlawful acts.

(1) The commission upon its own motion may, and upon complaint in writing of any person shall, investigate the activities of any licensee or applicant within the state or any person upon the premises of any facility licensed pursuant to this article. In addition to its authority under any other provision of this article, the commission may issue a letter of admonition to a licensee, fine a licensee, suspend a license, deny an application for a license, or revoke a license, if such person has committed any of the following violations:

(m) Possession on the premises of a racetrack of:

(I) Firearms; or

-On a Snowmobile

33-14-117. Hunting, carrying weapons on snowmobiles - prohibitions.

(1) It is unlawful for any person to:

(b) Operate or ride on any snowmobile with any firearm in his possession, unless such firearm is unloaded and enclosed in a carrying case or inserted in a scabbard, or with any bow unless it is unstrung or cased, but this paragraph (b) shall not apply to any person to whom the division of wildlife has issued a permit for the control of predators such as coyotes, foxes, bobcats, and the like;

(3) Any person who violates subsection (1) of this section is guilty of a class 2 petty offense and, upon conviction, shall be punished by a fine as follows:

(b) For a violation of paragraph (b) of subsection (1) of this section, fifty dollars; and

Prohibiting Municipalities.

(Denver, Arvada and Breckenridge.  Please message us if you know of other municipalities who ban open carry).

29-11.7-104. Regulation - carrying - posting.

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.

(on page 40 of this document is Pueblo's law against weapons -- open carry only, as state law governs concealed -- possession in places that sell alcohol)

Castle Rock has an open carry ban that extends to nearly every city-owned location.  Castle Rock City Ordinance 9.04.165

Prohibiting Private Businesses

Businesses are private property, and except for some very broad categories established by the courts, a business can disallow almost anything from being on their property. This, unfortunately, is sometimes legal firearms, both openly carried and concealed carry (with permit).  Please consult our Merchant Awareness Program for more information (and our position and strategy) on this issue.

18-4-504. Third degree criminal trespass.

(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.

(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense…

Prohibiting Private Residences

Basically the same as a business, but more privacy applies here. If someone doesn’t want something or somebody in there home, that’s their right

18-4-504. Third degree criminal trespass.

(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.

(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense…

What other laws might apply to me as a Legally Armed Citizen who Openly Carries?

Of open carry concern (Laws with the potential for LEO abuse): “Brandishing” “threatening” and “disorderly public conduct” laws “trespassing”

18-9-106. Disorderly conduct.

(1) A person commits disorderly conduct if he or she intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly:

(f) Not being a peace officer, displays a deadly weapon, displays any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon, or represents verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon in a public place in a manner calculated to alarm.

(3) An offense under…(1) (f) of this section is a class 2 misdemeanor.

18-3-206. Menacing.

(1) A person commits the crime of menacing if, by any threat or physical action, he or she knowingly places or attempts to place another person in fear of imminent serious bodily injury. Menacing is a class 3 misdemeanor, but, it is a class 5 felony if committed:

(a) By the use of a deadly weapon or any article used or fashioned in a manner to cause a person to reasonably believe that the article is a deadly weapon; or

(b) By the person representing verbally or otherwise that he or she is armed with a deadly weapon.

18-4-504. Third degree criminal trespass.

(1) A person commits the crime of third degree criminal trespass if such person unlawfully enters or remains in or upon premises of another.

(2) Third degree criminal trespass is a class 1 petty offense…

Can I carry openly?   CONDITIONAL YES  (Yes, but not in cities -- or specific areas within some cities -- which prohibit it.  You must check with local authorities)

Must open carry bans be posted?  YES.

CRS 29-11.7-104. Regulation - carrying - posting.

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.

Example of a Municipal Open Carry ban  The City of Castle Rock has an open carry ban that extends to nearly every city-owned location.  Castle Rock City Ordinance 9.04.165 reads:

It is unlawful for any person, except law enforcement officers in the performance of their duties, to openly carry a firearm in any Town-owned or -operated building, or on any Town-owned or -operated park, recreation area or property upon which the Town Manager has directed to be posted a notification that the carrying of firearms is prohibited. (Ord. 2003-41 §1, 2003)

Lakewood's Open Carry ban: Click here

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