Firearm laws differ by state, such as the laws for open and concealed carrying. That means that the legality of keeping your gun in your vehicle will also depend on the state you live in, as well as your permit status and the type of gun. Here we will explore the relevant laws in Colorado.
Are Loaded Guns Allowed to be Stored or Transported in Cars?
In general, yes – gun owners in Colorado are allowed to keep their weapon in their car. You do not need a concealed carry permit to do so – however, there are some exceptions.
When is it Legal?
Colorado residents may have their loaded firearm in their vehicle in the following situations:
- The firearm is owned for lawful protection purposes
- The firearm is a pistol or revolver
- The gun owner is a police officer, current or retired (concealed firearm laws don’t apply to them)
According to Colorado law 18-12-105.6, it would be unlawful to prohibit a gun owner from transporting their gun in their car. The law references the example of going hunting, and how a hunter would need to transport their gun in their car. Additionally, a “muzzle-loader” is considered unloaded as long as it is not primed.
When is it Illegal?
The following situations of having a loaded gun in your car would be illegal:
- The loaded firearm is not a pistol or revolver (as per CRS 33-6-125)
- The firearms is being carried with the intention of committing a crime
- Felons and fugitives cannot legally have a loaded firearm at all, so they also cannot have one in their car. Possession of a loaded firearm could lead to possession of a weapon by a previous owner (POWPO) charges.
In Colorado, it is legal to store non-handguns in your vehicle as long as the chamber is unloaded. This does not apply to dangerous or illegal weapons, such as a short rifle, short shotgun, machine gun, or firearm silencer. It is never legal to possess these weapons.
What Are the Penalties?
In the case that you are pulled over by the police and they ask to inspect your gun, you must allow them. Law enforcement officers can inspect your gun’s chamber to ensure it’s unloaded.
If you are charged with illegal possession of a loaded gun in a vehicle, it’s a misdemeanor punishable by 15 license suspension points, a $100 fine, and a criminal record. This is assuming that it’s your only charge – there are other gun laws that may be violated in a situation like this. Minors are never allowed to possess a gun in Colorado, barring a few exceptions. If you or a loved one has been charged with a gun crime, your best bet is to contact a Colorado criminal defense attorney like those at Anaya & Chadderdon and review your options.