NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED FEDERAL LAWYERS
Colorado is known for its beautiful Rocky Mountains, legal marijuana, and an overall independent, live-and-let-live attitude. This free spirit extends to gun laws, with Colorado having relatively permissive policies regarding the concealed carry of firearms.However, even though Colorado residents enjoy shall-issue concealed carry permitting, the state still has reciprocity limitations when it comes to honoring other states’ concealed carry permits. This means that gun owners from out of state may not be able to legally carry concealed in Colorado, even with a valid permit from their home state.Below we’ll cover 3 key things for gun owners to know about Colorado concealed carry reciprocity and recognizing out-of-state concealed carry permits.
1. Colorado Has Limited Reciprocity
Colorado does recognize concealed carry permits from some other states. However, its reciprocity is limited compared to many other states.As of 2023, Colorado has reciprocity agreements, either by statute or by policy, with just 15 other states. These states are:
- New Mexico
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- South Carolina
Colorado used to have non-resident concealed carry reciprocity with Utah, but that agreement ended in 2013. Colorado also used to recognize Georgia’s concealed carry permits, but that recognition ended in 2017.Unfortunately, permits from a majority of states are NOT valid in Colorado. If your home state is not on the above list, you cannot legally carry a concealed firearm in Colorado, even with a valid permit.This patchwork of recognition agreements means it’s essential to check the latest laws before carrying concealed with an out-of-state permit in Colorado. The details can change year to year.
2. Constitutional Carry Doesn’t Apply
In recent years, over 20 states have adopted “constitutional carry” laws that allow concealed carry within the state without any special permit.However, it’s crucial to understand that constitutional carry rights do NOT transfer across state lines.For example, a Wyoming resident can legally carry concealed in Wyoming without any permit due to state constitutional carry laws. But that same Wyoming resident would still need a valid concealed carry permit to legally carry a concealed firearm in Colorado.Colorado honors Wyoming’s concealed carry permits but does not extend constitutional carry rights to Wyoming residents (or residents of any other state).This means that you cannot rely on your home state having constitutional carry as a basis for legally carrying a concealed firearm in Colorado. Without a state-issued concealed carry permit, residents of constitutional carry states must confine themselves to open carry while in Colorado.
3. Carefully Follow All Laws
If you do have a concealed carry permit valid in Colorado, you must be sure to closely follow all relevant laws to avoid running into serious legal trouble. Here are some key things to keep in mind:
- No Guns Signs – It is illegal to carry a concealed firearm into any building or business that has conspicuous “No Firearms” signage. This can include government buildings, schools, many businesses, etc.
- Magazine Limits – Colorado bans magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds. You cannot use larger magazines in a concealed carry firearm in Colorado.
- Vehicle Carry – You need a valid concealed carry permit to have a loaded handgun in your vehicle. Without a permit, it must be unloaded and stored out of reach.
- No Firearms When Drunk – Do not carry any firearm while intoxicated. Colorado prohibits guns after consuming alcohol or drugs.
- Federal Restrictions – Federal law prohibits firearms in certain sensitive areas like airports. These restrictions still apply.
Violating any applicable state or federal firearms laws can result in severe criminal penalties. Claiming ignorance will not get you off the hook.Responsible concealed carriers make it a point to fully understand relevant laws anytime they travel across state lines with a firearm. This is especially important for travelers coming to Colorado from states with more permissive gun laws.
Resources on Colorado Conceded Carry Reciprocity
- Colorado Gun Laws | Concealed Carry Reciprocity | No Duty To Inform Law Enforcement? – Overview of key Colorado gun laws and reciprocity.
- Traveling Cross Country with Firearms – Tips for legally transporting firearms across the U.S.
- Colorado Concealed Carry Permit Reciprocity Map & Gun Laws – Reciprocity details from USCCA.
- Here Are The States Where Your Colorado Concealed Carry Permit Is Valid – Breakdown of recognition agreements.
- Can I Conceal Carry in Colorado With an Out-Of-State Permit? – Analysis by US Law Shield.
- Colorado Parks & Wildlife – Handguns and Concealed Carry – CO concealed carry details.
- Colorado Revised Statutes – Article 12: Permits to Carry Concealed Handguns – CO concealed carry laws.
- Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – Federal firearms laws.
In summary, Colorado has relatively limited concealed carry reciprocity with just 15 states. Constitutional carry rights do not transfer across state lines. And any valid permit holders must strictly follow all applicable laws.Responsible concealed carriers make sure they understand the laws anytime they carry interstate. This helps ensure you stay safe, legal and able to fully exercise your 2nd Amendment rights.