I am a victim of domestic violence and the abuser has a gun. Is that legal?
According to Colorado state law, a person can only get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if all of the following conditions are met. The applicant must:
- be a legal resident of the state of Colorado (including a member of the armed forces who is stationed in Colorado and his/her immediate family members);
- be at least twenty-one years old;
- have never been convicted of a felony, attempt to commit a felony, or conspiracy to commit a felony;
- have never been convicted of perjury related to information provided on a concealed handgun permit application;
- not chronically and habitually abuse alcohol - (Note: A recovering alcoholic who has been sober for at least the past three years can be excused from this requirement if a substance abuse counselor swears to this information in an affidavit);
- not be an unlawful user of (or addicted to) drugs;
- not have a temporary or final civil protection order issued against him/her based on domestic violence or based on stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats or abuse of the elderly/at-risk adult;
- not have a protection order issued against him/her as part of a criminal court case, including a protection order based on a juvenile delinquent act;
- not have a temporary or final extreme risk protection order issued against him/her.1
In addition, 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 make firearms-related orders. The judge can only do so, however, if, after reviewing the petition, the judge determines that an act of domestic violence took place and it involved physical force or the threat or attempt to use physical force. The judge can then 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.2
Note: Even if the applicant meets all of the requirements above, the sheriff can still deny the permit if, based on the applicant’s previous behavior, the sheriff has a reasonable belief that s/he would likely be a danger to himself/herself or others if the permit were granted.3
In addition, it is illegal for anyone to possess a firearm if s/he is on probation after being convicted of a crime that involved domestic violence. An exception can be made, however, for a defendant whose job requires the use of a firearm if the judge believes that the victim and his/her child would not be endangered and the gun is not stored in the defendant’s home.4
Also, federal laws, which apply to all states, restrict an abuser’s right to have a gun if s/he was convicted of a felony or a domestic violence misdemeanor or if you have a final protection order against him/her that meets certain requirements. Go to the Federal Gun Laws page to get more information.
For additional information on gun laws in Colorado, you can go the the Giffords Law Center website.
1 Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-12-203(1)(a)-(g); 18-12-108
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(a) & (2)(c)
3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-203(2)
4 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1.3-204(2)(b)(IV)