Legal Q&A

Good afternoon Tony,

If a private party wishes to liquidate a group of firearms, say, in the case of a widow selling her late husband's collection, is this process subject to regulation? Is she considered to be conducting a "gun show" if potential buyers view what she has for sale? Is there a limit on how many guns can be sold at one time? Thank you very much.

Will (3-1-2004)


You ask a very good question on the subject of "gun shows." A "gun show" is defined by law as any locale in which 25 or more guns are offered for sale or three or more persons are gathered offering gun(s) for sale.

CSSA pointed out way back in 2000, when Amendment 22 was being pushed by many different groups including some firearms dealers, that this law essentially spelled the end for estate sales and neighborhood garage/rummage sales, since all you needed was either one or two persons with 25 or more guns for sale between them or three people with as few as a single gun for sale each for the background check requirement to kick in.

Therefore, an estate sale where 25 or more guns are offered for sale would probably constitute a gun show under Colorado law. Colorado law requires that ANY transaction, including trades, involving firearms where ANY portion of the transaction takes place at a gun show, must include a background check performed by a licensed dealer through CBI. Many folks needing to liquidate estate property nowadays are selling firearms to auction houses and letting them take care of the legal niceties.

Unlike some states, there is no applicable law in Colorado limiting the number a firearms a person may purchase at any given time. Likewise for private sellers. Hope this answers your question.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

Tony, I have a CCW issued in Montrose County. Is it legal to conceal carry in Denver aera? Is there any places that should be avoided other than places that have been "Posted"?


John P. (2-23-2004)


I am assuming that, by naming the county of issue for your permit, it was issued before the new law went into effect May 18, 2003. Regardless, a concealed carry permit issued by the sheriff of a Colorado county is valid in all parts of the state, including Denver.

Under the new law, there are essentially only four places restricted from concealed carry:

Private property posted as such
Federal government buildings
Public schools K-12
Public buildings with metal detectors and security personnel posted at each entrance that prohibit ALL weapons of any kind

There have been reports of Denver government buildings (e.g. the Library) being posted without the necessary security screening requirement set forth in the statute. Such postings are unenforceable since they are in contravention of Colorado law and no court has issued an injunction regarding that law.

We have been informed that the various sports arenas (Invesco at Mile Hi, Pepsi Center, Coors Field) have posted, but it appears they qualify as private property since each is "owned" by a private corporation and they are not open to the general public--you have to buy a ticket to get in.

Hope this helps.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

If stopped while carrying (with a CCW) is an officer allowed to take your weapon during the stop? Are you required to turn it over to him if requested? Just what else are you required to do during a stop while carrying?


Richard F (2-19-2004)


The new law states that an officer may temporarily disarm a CCW permittee during a LAWFUL detention--that means that if an officer has reasonable suspicion that criminal activity is afoot or probable cause that the permittee committed a crime, he can stop the permittee and take his gun until the situation is sorted out.

The law goes on to say that the officer must return the gun to the permittee unless the permittee is arrested.

There is no legal requirement to inform an officer that you have a CCW permit or are lawfully carrying. There has been much debate as to whether someone should do this. I think it depends on the situation. If the encounter is incidental and consensual, i.e. no criminal activity involved, then I don't think it necessary to inform the officer. If there is actually a lawful stop, it might be wise to inform the officer that you are a licensed concealed handgun permit holder and have a firearm on your person. That will accomplish two things that will immediately tell the officer you are not a threat--you TOLD him you have a gun and that you are licensed.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

I have just been acquitted of 3rd degree assult charges a jury found me not guilty. My question since the charge has been dismissed and the restraining order has been vacated, How long should I wait before I attempt to purchase another firearm to avoid the humiliation of being rejected by the background check.

Bryon D (2-16-2004)


Since you were acquitted, the court entered judgment of acquittal in your court file. It is up to the court as to how long they take to get this information into the statewide judicial database, which feeds into the criminal databases checked by CBI. Based on personal experience, I would expect this to take weeks, if not months (sometimes it NEVER gets completed). I recommend you get a certified copy of the register of actions with the judgment of acquittal and hand-deliver it to CBI (and keep a copy for yourself, of course). That should short-circuit any bureaucratic delay in clearing your record.
Also, since you were acquitted at trial, you are eligible to have your entire record in this case sealed, which means that any official record of it (including CCIC, which CBI monitors) will be wiped off the books and the case file can only be opened upon special petition and court order.

It is recommended that you hire legal counsel for this process, which can get complicated.

Good luck!

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

I would like the legal defination of open carry in Colorado.

Darrell B (2-16-2004)


There is no legal definition of open carry in Colorado. State law does not specifically address the open carry of firearms; therefore, it does not prohibit the practice. However, several municipalities have banned open carry in some form or other--either citywide or in specific designated areas. This practice was upheld by the Colorado Court of Appeals in 2002 in the case of Trinen v. Denver, and the State Supreme Court refused to review the COA's ruling. SB25, which went into effect nearly a year ago, requires that cities post any place where open carry of firearms is prohibited. Cities with limited (bans confined to limited areas such as specific buildings or areas) bans appear to be in compliance with the law; cities with unlimited (city-wide) bans have not posted to the satisfaction of the state statute. As such, it is the position of CSSA that such unlimited bans, unless posted at all entry ways to the city, are unenforceable. If you want to know the law for your city, or a city you are visiting, go to the city's website and look up the city's laws on the subject in the municipal code. Hope this answers your question.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

If a person is convicted of a misdemeaner, (m3) are they allowed to posses firearms after they have successfully completed their probation?

Laura-- (2-11-2004)


Provided that the misdemeanor was not classified as an act of domestic violence, then a defendant convicted of a misdemeanor may possess/purchase firearms once probation is completed and the case is closed. While on probation, however, a person is usually precluded from owning a weapon by the court, probation department, or both. Hope this answers your question.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

Colorado gun ownership laws state that no one convicted a crime carring a sentance of up to one year in prison may posses a firearm. I plead guilty (the same as convicted) to 3rd degree assault last year under C.R.S. 18-3-204. This carries a sentance of up to 18 months in prison however I only got sentanced to two years probation. Does this mean I can never own a firearm? It is my understanding that driving without insurance can carry a penalty of more than a year in prison so is this in any way a violation of my second amendment right?

John S (2-9-2004)


I think you may have your laws mixed-up.

Colorado prohibits persons convicted of felonies from possessing or purchasing firearms. Federal law prohibits firearms ownership by those convicted of a felony or any offense NOT SPECIFICALLY DESIGNATED AS A MISDEMEANOR that carries a penalty of more than a year in jail.

Since Assault-3 is designated as a misdemeanor, is does not disqualify you from owning a firearm, provided it was not charged as an act of domestic violence. Under federal law, misdemeanor domestic violence convictions are also disqualifying for firearms ownership.

Driving without insurance is also a designated misdemeanor, so a conviction for it, too, will not disqualify firearms ownership.

Hope this answers your questions.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

A student (NRA Basic Pistol), who is a "over the road trucker" is under the impression that having a handgun, loaded or not, in a commercial vehicle is against the law in colorado.

Your thoughts please.


George H (2-3-2004)


A perusal of the Colorado Traffic Code and other statutory sections pertaining to commercial vehicles reveals no such prohibition. The student may be referring to a company policy against firearms in cabs, but I am not aware of any provision of law that prohibits handguns, or any type of firearm, in commercial vehicles.
The only statute that appears to come even relatively close is sec. 18-9-118 C.R.S., which prohibits carrying firearms in any facility of public transportation without legal authority.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

I have a question about the concealed carry law that I haven't seen anyone address. If a private property owner, such as a retail store owner, posts a notice prohibiting the carrying of concealed weapons on their property, how is that enforced? Can the property owner have a CCW permit holder arrested by the police if he ignores their posted notice and carries on their property? Is there a legal penalty for violating the property owner's posted notice, or is it simply up to the property owner to ask the offending party to leave the premises?

Mark M.-- (2-2-2004)


Actually, this is a common question that gets addressed quite often. As you pointed out, a private property owner has the right to exclude firearms from his/her premises. Although it is not a separate and distinct crime to carry concealed on posted property, if a person does in fact carry on posted property he is committing criminal trespass, which is generally the knowing and unlawful encroachment upon the property of another.

There are various types of criminal trespass:

The unlawful entry or remaining in the dwelling (residence) of another is a FELONY (Class 5)--what is known at common law as breaking and entering. Sec. 18-4-502 C.R.S.

The unlawful entry or remaining on the premises of another that are enclosed in a manner designed to exclude intruders, or in the common areas of a hotel, motel, condo or apartment, is a misdemeanor (Class 3, unless the premises are zoned and used agriculturally, then it is a Class 2 misdemeanor). Sec. 18-4-503 C.R.S.

The unlawful entry or remaining on the premises of another is a Petty Offense (Class 1, unless, again, if the premises are agricultural, the class is bumped up a notch to a Class 3 misdemeanor). Sec. 18-4-504 C.R.S.

Each of these offenses carries possible sentences consisting of jail (prison for felonies) and/or fines.

How the owner of property chooses to deal with unwanted armed encroachers is entirely his call--he can merely ask the offender to leave, or he can call the police and make a criminal complaint, or he can do BOTH.

The bottom line is that we, as firearms owners and Americans, must respect the private property rights of others, just as we would have them respect ours. If the private property owner is a business open to the public, then the best way to handle the situation is to inform the manager that he/she has lost a loyal customer due to their gun ban and that you will help spread the word so that as many gun owners as possible find out about the store's policy.

Then tell CSSA!

The last four businesses that CSSA and its members contacted regarding their "no guns" posting, CostCo, Galyans, Home Depot and Burt Automotive, each removed its signs in short order (Home Depot had not posted signs, but scuttled a planned policy to do so after gun owners nationwide complained). Simply put, in this competitive economy, it is very bad business to alienate a large customer base due to a policy whose purpose is highly dubious.

Hope this answers your questions.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

I have been unable to find anything on the web regarding Colorado airgun laws. Can you give me some information regarding how airguns can be carried and transported?



Barry J. (1-30-2004)


You raise an interesting, if uncommon, question. There are no laws that regulate airguns (compressed air propelled). The issue is whether airguns are "firearms" under the law. Colorado law defines "firearm" as "any handgun, automatic, revolver, pistol, rifle, shotgun, or other instrument or device capable or intended to be capable of discharging bullets, cartridges, or other explosive charges." This definition is sorely lacking in technical knowledge and proper terminology, but I can see where a prosecuting attorney, and a court as well, could construe the definition to include airguns, since they are capable of discharging projectiles, or "bullets". Therefore, to err on the side of caution, it would be wise to treat any airgun as if it were an actual firearm.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

Would you mind explaining a little more about the law that says that I can carry a handgun in my car. Do I need a CCP to carry it in a loaded condition? Does it need to be in plain view or can it be concealed, e.g. the glove box? Depending on your response, I probably will have more questions.

Mark B (1-29-2004)

Sure. Under Colorado law, it is legal to carry a concealed, loaded (round in the chamber) handgun in your car without a permit if it is for the purpose of self-defense/protection while traveling. See secs. 18-12-105(2)(b) and 18-12-105.6 C.R.S.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

Regarding CCW in Denver Publilc Libraries, I recently saw posted a "no firearms" sign at the Denver Public Library. I read your previous comment regarding the 2003 law that allows open-carry bans where clearly posted, but I am unclear of whether the sign also applies to legally concealed firearms (i.e. library patron with a properly issued CWP).


Denny in Denver, CO (1-22-2004)


Thanks for your question.

Section 18-12-214(4) C.R.S. says that a concealed carry permit does not authorize a person to carry concealed in a public building at which:

1. Security personnel and electronic weapons screening devices are permanently in place at each entrance to the building; and

2. Security personnel electronically screen each person who enters the building; and

3. Security personnel require each person who is carrying a weapon of any kind to leave the weapon in the possession of the security personnel while the person is in the building.

There's the law in black and white. Unless the DPL can establish that it is NOT a public building (which is a dubious argument), or that it has in place the security regimen prescribed in section 18-12-214(4), then it cannot exclude lawful concealed carry. It's strange that the management of a public library cannot seem to be able to read a simple state statute.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

Your response to "Art in Broomfield" concerning his rejection for a CCW because of using a Hunter Safety Card as training wasn't quite correct. I think it has to do more with the political climate in the Metro area, as you should well know the Denver area has always failed to recognize gun owners rights, sometimes flagrantley violating State Law. It appears to be a "matter of interpretation" when it comes to training requirements, my daughter recently was issued her CCW and submitted a Hunter Safety Card as her training requirement. I bet you can't guess what County we reside in.

Martin in Colorado Springs (1-21-2004)


Thanks for your comments, but I must respectfully disagree with you. I believe my response was correct because it was made in accordance with the relevant law. The law makes no provisions regarding the diligence of a sheriff in determining whether an instructor is "certified" in accordance with the concealed carry law. I am certainly not saying that the El Paso sheriff was wrong to issue your daughter's permit, but as my response which you cited states, it is the certification of the INSTRUCTOR, not the program, that matters under the law.

If a person's concealed carry application is rejected because a Hunter Safety certificate is submitted as proof of training, and the applicant appeals, it may be difficult to convince a judge that a Hunter Safety instructor, without any other certification, qualifies under the statute. I agree with you that there may be some room for interpretation and that a judge COULD find that Hunter Safety qualifies, but I think the chances of that happening are slim.

Finally, and most importantly, as I stated in the response you cited, I think there is much more to proper preparatory training for concealed carry than basic firearms safety. Hunter Safety, while a worthwhile program, only teaches the very basics of firearms safety and is entirely inadequate preparation for concealed carry in instruction on handgun operation and carry, shooting skills and marksmanship, and the relevant legal and moral considerations for using a firearm in self-defense. Most self-defense experts recommend that concealed carry permit holders attend serious firearms and self-defense training every 1-2 years in order to keep their skills and knowledge at a competent level.

Getting a permit is only half of the necessities to carry concealed. The other half, which is far more important, is knowing how and when to use your concealed handgun. Hunter Safety does NOT accomplish that second, important requirement.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA


I have a CCP and carry often. If I am on the way home from work (where it is prohibited to carry), and have left my .45 cocked-and-locked in my glove compartment, is that a violation of the Colorado Vehicle Carry Law that states that a weapon must not have a round chambered? Does my having a Concealed Carry Permit override that law?
Thank you for your information

Mark W (1-14-2004)


Thanks for contacting us. You may be a bit confused about what you call the Vehicle Carry Law. Colorado law makes it illegal to carry a loaded (round in the chamber) LONG GUN (rifle or shotgun) in a motor vehicle. The law does not apply to handguns, which may be carried loaded in motor vehicles provided all other applicable laws are observed. Since you have a concealed carry permit, you may carry your .45 "cocked and locked" anywhere in your vehicle. As a reminder, Colorado law allows carrying a concealed firearm in your car without a permit provided the gun is used for personal protection while traveling.

Hope this answers your question.

Tony Fabian, J.D.
President, CSSA

I received a CCW from Denver last October. I am now moving to Adams County in three weeks. I know I need to advise Denver County of the change in my address, but do I need to apply for another permit form Adams County?


Robert (1-12-2004)
CSSA Member


Thanks for contacting us. The new CCW law does not require that you obtain a new permit when moving within Colorado--only that you notify the issuing authority (Denver) within 30 days of moving. That's the beauty of a uniform system--the standards and permits are the same no matter where they are issued from!Good luck with your move.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

President, CSSA

I saw a great price for a pre ban AR15 pistol on one of the auction sites and was wondering if this is a legal firearm to own in the State of Colorado. Also, do any specific regulations apply.

Thank you.

Mark W (1-8-2004)


Thanks for contacting us.

By your question, I am assuming "pre-ban AR15 pistol" means an AR15 lower receiver mated with an upper receiver/barrel assembly that is too short to qualify as a rifle under federal ATFE regulations, and therefore must be classified as a pistol. Prior to last March, this type of firearm was banned in the City and County of Denver. Thanks to SB25, the 2003 pre-emption statute that went into effect last March, no local government can now ban any type of firearm that is legal under state or federal law. There is no Colorado law outlawing the firearm you describe, but as mentioned above, there are federal regulations that apply to these firearms, and you should consult BATFE for the latest details on this type of gun. First and foremost, you should be warned that not all firearms offered as "pre-ban" actually qualify under the grandfathering of federal statutes and ATFE regs, so do your research/homework before you buy.

Good luck.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA


I just moved from Florida to Colorado. In Florida we had CCW laws, but I've heard that in Colorado there is an open carry law. Is this correct? I was just curoius.
A few days ago I was pumping gas and the guy next to me was carrying a Ruger Blackhawl .45 (I live in a rural area). Seeing this, I thought it might be true.Thanks.



Thanks for contacting us. I don't know what you mean by an "open carry law", but it sounds like you are talking about laws prohibiting or restriction open carry.
There is no state law restricting the open carry of firearms. Nonetheless, Colorado courts have ruled that local governments may ban or restrict the open carry of firearms, and many do, especially in the Denver Metro Area. However, a new law that went into effect in March 2003 requires that any area where open carry is banned/restricted must be prominently posted. Therefore, in order for an open carry ban to be enforceable, the area where open carry is restricted must be posted as such.

To my knowledge, very few cities with open carry bans have actually adequately posted their restrictions.

Hope this answers your question.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

I recently was issued a concealed weapons permit, and I was wondering if there is any law regarding the use of alcohol and the carrying of a concealed weapon? Having read through the "shall issue" law more than once I know there is no reference to this, and I am concerned that if I go out to dinner and consume a beer, I may be braking the law and jeopardizing my permit? Should it be safe to assume that other laws pertaining to the use of alcohol and deadly weapons, such as a motor vehicle, may apply? I know that above all else common sense should prevail, however I think some laws go beyond what is reasonable and proper.

Thank you for your input and thoughts.

Mike in Golden


It is a crime (class two misdemeanor) to possess a firearm while intoxicated. Although not clearly defined, most courts have held that "intoxicated" means about the same as "under the influence," which means that your mental and physical abilities are substantially impaired by the consumption of alcohol (or any other drug for that matter). It is not illegal to merely possess or consume alcohol while in possession of a firearm, concealed or not, provided you are not drunk.

Having established the above, I personally believe it is a very bad idea to consume alcohol when in possession of a firearm, period. I make it a personal rule never to drink when I am carrying, regardless of the circumstances. Studies show that consumption of more than one alcoholic beverage over time, even if you do not become intoxicated, adversely affects your judgment, reactions/reflexes and motor skills. In light of that info, there is really no reason why you should drink at all if you are in an environment where you think you may need to defend yourself with a firearm. From a purely legal standpoint, should the need arise to use your firearm, your legal grounds/justification could be seriously affected if there is evidence you had been drinking.

Firearms instructors and shooting ranges universally ban alcohol from their shooting activities/premises--with good reason. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying a fine adult beverage AFTER concluding an afternoon of shooting fun once the guns have been put safely away. Guns and alcohol do not mix, and it is a very good idea to always avoid combining the two.

Tony Fabian
President, CSSA

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