What is the penalty for violating state or federal firearm laws?
While a protection order is in effect, if the respondent possesses (or attempts to possess) a firearm or ammunition, s/he has committed the crime of violation of a protection order, a class 2 misdemeanor. Note: It can be a class 1 misdemeanor if:
- this is the respondent’s second (or third, fourth, etc.) conviction for the crime of violation of a protection order; or
- the protection order was issued at arraignment in a criminal case and ordered the defendant not to harass, intimidate, retaliate against, or tamper with any witness to, or victim of, the acts charged.1
The punishment for a class 2 misdemeanor is between 3 to 12 months imprisonment, a fine of between $250 and $1,000, or both. The punishment for a class 1 misdemeanor is between 6 to 18 months imprisonment, a fine of between $500 and $5,000, or both.2
If someone who was convicted of a felony (or attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony) is in possession of a firearm, it can be a class 5 or 6 felony depending on the underlying felony conviction, the length of time since that felony conviction, and other factors.3 The punishment for a class 5 felony is between 1 and 3 years, a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, or both. The punishment for a class 6 felony is between 1 and 1.5 years, a fine of between $1,000 and $100,000, or both.4
Also, anyone who has or buys a gun in violation of the federal firearm law can be punished by a fine, jail time for up to 10 years, or both.5 For more information, see our Federal Gun Laws page.
1 Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-6-803.5; 18-1-1001(1)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-501(1)(a)
3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108
4 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-401(1)(a)(V)(A), (1)(a)(III)(A), (1)(a)(V.5)(A)
5 18 USC § 924(a)(2)