Right to bear arms

Regulation of firearms begins with the premise that citizens have a fundamental right to bear arms and accompanying responsibilities. Additional limitations may be imposed by state and local governments but cannot be less comprehensive than federal laws.


Key points
  • Coloradans’ right to bear arms—or possess firearms—is established in the United States and Colorado constitutions.
  • Article II, section 13 of the Colorado Constitution states, “The right of no person to keep and bear arms in defense of his home, person, and property, or aid of the civil power when thereto legally summoned, shall be called in question; but nothing herein contained shall be construed to justify the practice of carrying concealed weapons.” 
  • This right is not absolute, meaning the state government and local governments may regulate the exercise of Coloradans’ right to bear arms through ordinances, regulations, and laws.

Applicable State Laws

Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S.) are posted on the Colorado Legal Resources Public Access Website.


Local Regulation of Firearms: C.R.S. §29-11.7-101

This declares that regulating firearms is a matter of state and local concern. C.R.S. §29-11.7-103 permits a local government to enact an ordinance, regulation, or law prohibiting the sale, purchase, transfer, or possession of a firearm, ammunition, or firearm component or accessory. 

Local limitations:
  • The ordinance, regulation, or law may not be less comprehensive than state law. 
  • The local law may only impose a criminal penalty for a violation upon a person who knew or reasonably should have known that the person's conduct was prohibited. 
  • The statute permits a local government and the governing board of an institution of higher education to enact an ordinance, resolution, rule, or other regulation prohibiting a permittee from carrying a concealed firearm in a building. This includes areas within a local government or governing board's jurisdiction (C.R.S. §18-12-214).