En Español
National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or (TTY) 1-800-787-3224

Know the Laws: Colorado

UPDATED September 18, 2017

View All

Below is information about state gun laws in Colorado.  However, in addition to these state-specific laws, there are also federal gun laws that could apply.  To fully understand all of the legal protections available, it is important that you also read the Federal Gun Laws pages.

WomensLaw.org strongly recommends that you get in touch with a domestic violence advocate or lawyer in your community for more information on gun laws in your state.  To find an agency, please go to the CO Where to Find Help page.

Guns and Protection Orders

back to topI have a temporary ex parte order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

Under Colorado law, as part of a temporary (or final) protection order due to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats or abuse of the elderly/at-risk adult, the judge can order that the abuser: 

  • not have or buy any firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order; and
  • give up any firearms or ammunition that s/he currently has in his/her possession or control to a licensed firearms dealer, private party or to law enforcement.* 

Federal law may also prohibit the abuser from having a firearm while a temporary order is in effect but it's not likely.  If the judge gave you an ex parte temporary protective order (which means that no advance notice was given to the abuser), which is commonly done, it could still be legal for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  However, if the judge scheduled a court hearing and gave notice of the hearing to the abuser before giving you the temporary protective order, it is possible that it is illegal for him/her to have a gun under federal law.  The protective order must also meet certain other requirements, though.  Read I have a final order of protection against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away? (in our Federal Gun Laws section) to find out more.

* Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(a) & (2)(c)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topI have a final protection order against the abuser. Can his/her gun be taken away?

According to Colorado state law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if there is a current civil protection order issued against him/her (or a current criminal court protection order).*  In addition, as part of a final (or temporary) protection order due to domestic violence, stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats or abuse of the elderly/at-risk adult, the judge can order that the abuser: 

  • not have or buy any firearms or ammunition for the duration of the order; and
  • give up any firearms or ammunition that s/he currently has in his/her possession or control to a licensed firearms dealer, private party or to law enforcement.** 

Federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser's right to have a gun if you have a protective order against him/her that meets certain requirements even if the judge does not specifically include on the order that s/he cannot have a gun.  Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.

* Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-12-203(1)(a)-(g); 18-12-108 
** Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(a) & (2)(c)

Did you find this information helpful?

back to topIs there anything I can do to make it more likely that the abuser's gun is taken away when I get a protection order?

Here are a few things that may help:

  • If the abuser has a gun, tell the judge how many guns s/he has, and if s/he has ever threatened you with a gun(s);
  • Ask the judge to specifically write in your protective order that the abuser cannot own, buy or have a gun while the order is in effect. The form that you will have to fill out to petition for a protective order will have a place where you can request additional protections. You can ask that the abuser’s gun(s) be taken away in that section; and
  • Before leaving the courthouse, check to make sure that the gun restriction is written on your order.

It also may be helpful if the judge explains what will happen to the abuser's guns, who will take them, and where they will be held once you leave the courthouse. If the judge agrees to add language that the abuser cannot keep his/her guns while the protective order is in effect, you may also want to ask that the judge:

  • Require the abuser to give his/her guns to the police, or require the police to go to the abuser's house and get them;
  • Make it clear to both you and the abuser how long the guns will be kept away from the abuser; and
  • Order that the police notify you when the guns are returned to the abuser.

Did you find this information helpful?

back to top