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Colorado Concealed Carry Laws

Last Updated: May 25, 2017

Disclaimer:  While the information provided here is legal in nature, it is not to be construed as legal advice, and is for educational and entertainment purposes only.

Gun laws vary from state to state, and trying to keep track of all the laws of even one state can be a little tricky.  Things start to get hairy when you add the rules on concealed carry to the mix.

Fortunately, there are only a few things you need to keep in mind to legally(!) carry your handgun concealed in Colorado.

We lay out all the steps and requirements you’ll need to be aware of to get your CCW permit in Colorado so you can start carrying and defending your freedom!

Flag of Colorado
Flag of Colorado

First the good news

The easy part is carrying a handgun in general.  Fortunately, Colorado has that down pat.  No permit is required to open carry a handgun.   

A gun is not considered to be concealed if:

  • You are carrying it for legal use (i.e. self-defense) even if you are in a private vehicle; or
  • You are carrying the handgun while hunting.

So how do you qualify?

To apply for a CCW permit, you must:

  • Be a legal resident of Colorado;
  • Be at least 21;
  • Not be prohibited from owning a firearm;
  • Not have been convicted of perjury in relation to a CCW permit application;
  • Not chronically or habitually abuse alcohol;
  • Not be unlawfully using or addicted to a controlled substance (that’s right, Colorado!);
  • Not be subject to a restraining order;
  • Demonstrate competency with a firearm (by taking a course and getting a certificate).

Once you’ve met those requirements, you’re ready to apply for your CCW permit with your local Sheriff!  

Because Colorado is a shall-issue state, as long you filled out the application correctly, you should have a shiny new CCW permit in hand within a few weeks.  Just remember to keep a photo-ID along with your CCW permit and don’t forget to renew it every 5 years!

Colorado CCW permit

But wait!

The Sheriff can deny the permit if he believes any of your documented previous behavior makes you likely to present a danger to yourself or others if the permit is issued.  Along those lines, even if you have already been issued a permit, the Sheriff can suspend that permit if he does not believe you still meet all the requirements above.

So what does that mean?  Stay out of trouble and you won’t have a record!  If you do run into problems though, you can always appeal the decision and even take the decision to court if necessary.

Where do you think you’re going? 

Even though the CCW permit is good throughout the entire state, there are still places where you cannot carry a firearm.  This means places like police stations, jails, courthouses, public schools, and any establishment that has a sign prohibiting firearms are all still off limits.  

If you have a CCW permit and you work security for a school, however, you can bring your concealed handgun onto all school property.  

If you do happen to visit one of these places, just leave the handgun in the car.  When stored in the car, the handgun must be in a compartment within the car and the car must be locked.  This can be any compartment, or, even better, a dedicated handgun safe.  The last thing you want is for that sweet 1911 to be stolen!

Lock up that gun when you can’t bring it with you!

But there are loopholes!

The best part of laws are the loopholes!  You do not need a CCW permit to carry concealed if you are:

  • A Colorado peace officer;
  • US probation officer; or
  • Current or retired law enforcement officers from jurisdictions outside of Colorado that also exempt Colorado peace officers.

And if it’s an emergency… 

You can also apply for a temporary emergency CCW permit if you are in immediate danger and the Sheriff determines it would be appropriate to issue the permit.  

To qualify for a temporary emergency permit, you must:

  • Be 18 or older; and
  • Meet all the requirements of a standard permit except demonstrating competence with firearms.

This temporary permit is good for 90 days, and can be renewed once if necessary.

Staying safe


Since a majority of the other states recognize a Colorado CCW permit, it’s probably easier to list out all the states that don’t.  Your permit is good everywhere else!

A Colorado CCW permit is not recognized in:

  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
  • Washington
  • Washington D.C. 
Colorado reciprocity map

For Those Out of State

For those of you who already have CCW permits from other states, Coloroado recognizes valid permits from any state that also recognizes a Colorado CCW Permit!  

How About that Virginia Loophole for 28-State Reciprocity?

Loophole you say?

It’s really just a super easy way to get your CCW with an ONLINE course.

You see…Virginia will give you a “nonresident concealed handgun permit” for taking and passing an online course.  This permit then grants you CCW privileges in 28 states.

Check out the 28 states and the most popular course here from Survival Life.

Carry on!

And that’s all you need to know about carrying concealed in Colorado!  To learn about the general gun laws of the state, check out our Colorado Gun Laws section.