How to Get a Firearm License in Colorado
The State of Colorado follows a "shall issue" jurisdiction with regards to gun laws, meaning that those who wish to carry guns must first qualify for the license/permit, receive the firearms license and only then proceed to purchase the gun legally.
All firearm licenses in Colorado are issued by the county sheriff, after extensive background checks.
In early 2018, the Republican-led Colorado Senate passed a bill, allowing qualified residents of Colorado to own and carry firearms without a permit, with the exception of select places like Denver. This makes Colorado one of the 31 states in America to allow open carrying of long guns and handguns.
However, for residents of Denver and other notified places, a firearms license is a must. Additionally, all firearms holders, in ownership and possession of those firearms listed under the National Firearms Act, must have a registered license in their name.
Currently, gun holders (even those with licenses) are not allowed to carry their firearms to/on federal properties, K-12 schools, and buildings that have fixed security checkpoints such as police stations, courthouses, municipal buildings, and foreign embassies. University campuses now allow Colorado residents to carry concealed weapons on campus grounds, after the strike-down of the gun ban in 2012.
How to get a firearms license in Colorado?
- Understand your eligibility for a firearm license in Colorado
A person can apply for a firearm license in Colorado if he/she is:
- Is 21 years or older.
- A legal resident of Colorado or has a member of the family who is a member of the US armed forces and has been stationed in Colorado.
- Is not ineligible to carry a firearm under Federal law.
- Has not been convicted of perjury when applying for firearms anywhere in the US.
- Is not a regular user of alcohol, drugs and other intoxicants and controlled substances, that may impair his/her judgment when in possession of the firearm.
- Is not subject to permanent or temporary protection order at the time of the application.
- Is competent when handling a firearm.
Providing evidence of competence when using a firearm is a must in Colorado. You can provide one of these as evidence:
- Evidence of work as a firearm instructor.
- Evidence of past military service (to be provided within three years of honorable discharge from the US military service and within ten years of obtaining pistol qualifications for military service).
- Evidence of participation in shooting contests and games.
- Evidence of certification of handgun use for self-defense.
- Fill-in & submit firearm license application form.
The application form for the firearm license is available in the County Sheriff’s office and costs under $100. When filling in, you’ll need to provide information like:
- Personal details – name, age, gender, occupation, income level & marital status
- Home address
- Proof of Colorado residency – Driver’s license
- Proof of American citizenship
- Photo identification
- Military discharge documents & firearm competence certificates (when relevant)
- Subject to a background check and provide biometrics
Once you submit the application, you will be asked to give your biometrics:
- Complete set of fingerprints
- Full frontal photograph measuring 1 1/8” wide and one ¼” high, showing your ears and hair (must be taken within 30 days of application)
- Copy of Driver’s license and citizenship ID proof
Once all these are submitted, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation will conduct a thorough background check to verify the information you have provided. If you’ve found to have lied anywhere, you may be charged with perjury under Colorado 18-1.3-501 C.R.S.
You should receive your license in a few weeks if you pass the background check. Remember that you must carry your permit and a photo ID with you at all times when carrying your firearm outside your home/office.
License renewal in Colorado
Gun licenses in Colorado are valid for five years from the date of issue. Renewal procedure involves submitting the renewal application 120 days before the expiry of the license. Renewal fees cost under $50.
However, if you are charged with a misdemeanor or crime during these five years or conditions in the State are inconducive for firearm renewal, your firearm license may be revoked/suspended or not eligible for renewal. If this happens, you have the option of seeking a judicial review of the decision.