Legal Information: Colorado

State Gun Laws

Updated: 
March 11, 2022

I have a temporary order against the abuser. Can the abuser have a gun?

Under Colorado law, the judge generally cannot order an abuser to give up his/her guns in an ex parte order, which is an order issued without prior notice to the abuser.1

However, if your temporary order is continued after the abuser has been served with notice of your petition and has the chance to appear in court, 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 rest 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

In addition to a temporary protection order due to domestic violence, these protections can also be included in protection orders due to stalking, sexual assault, physical harm/threats, or abuse of the elderly/at-risk adult.3

Also, according to Colorado state law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if there is a:

1 See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(a)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(11), (1)(a); see Citation and temporary civil protection order​
3 See Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(a)
4 Colo. Rev. Stat. §§ 18-12-203(1)(a)-(g); 18-12-108

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

As part of a 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 rest 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.1

In addition, according to Colorado state law, a person cannot get a permit to carry a concealed handgun if there is a:

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.

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

How does an abuser give up his/her guns and ammunition? What happens next?

If the abuser is in the courtroom when a judge orders the abuser to give up his/her guns and ammunition, s/he will have 24 hours to give up the guns and ammunition. If the abuser is not in the courtroom when the order is issued, s/he will have 48 hours to give them up. Both time frames do not count legal holidays and weekends.1

After the judge orders the abuser to give up his/her guns and ammunition, the abuser may do so by:

  • selling or transferring the firearms to a federally-licensed firearms dealer;
  • storing them with a law enforcement agency; or
  • selling or transferring them to a person who can legally possess firearms or ammunition.2

The judge must also schedule a compliance hearing to make sure that the abuser did, in fact, give up the firearms. The respondent will be notified of the hearing date and s/he is supposed to appear at the hearing in person. If the judge determines that there is “probable cause” to believe the respondent has failed to give up his/her firearms, the judge will issue a search warrant so that law enforcement can search the respondent’s home for the firearms and take them.3

You can read more about keeping an abuser from accessing guns on the National Domestic Violence and Firearms Resource Center’s website.

1 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(2)(a)
2 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(2)(a)(II)(c)
3 Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(1)(c), (5)(a), (5)(e)

Is 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.

The abuser did not show up for the protection order hearing. Can his/her gun still be taken away?

The abuser does not have to come to the hearing in order for the law to apply to him/her, but s/he does have to be given notice of the hearing and an opportunity to attend.1 If no hearing is scheduled, and/or no notice is given about the court hearing, then the federal firearm law might not apply to the abuser.2

1 18 U.S.C. §922(g)(8); see, for example, United States v. Bunnell 106 F. Supp. 2d 60 (D. Me. 2000), aff’d 280 F.3d 46 (1st Cir. 2002.)
2 See, for example, United States v. Spruill,292 F. 3d 207 (5th Cir. 2002.)

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