Colorado

Colorado Law

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE FIREARM PROHIBITIONS

Colorado Domestic Violence Firearm Purchase and Possession Prohibitions

Colorado prohibits the following persons from purchasing or possessing firearms or ammunition:

  • Persons convicted of misdemeanor crimes of domestic violence, as defined in federal law.1
  • Persons subject to a civil protection order that qualifies as an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922 (d)(8) or (g)(8).2*
  • Persons subject to a temporary civil protection order (which may be issued ex parte).3

COLORADO CIVIL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE PROTECTION ORDER FIREARM REMOVAL

Domestic Violence Civil Protection Orders that Require Removal

Colorado requires a court issuing a civil protection order that qualifies as an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(8) or (g)(8) to order the subject of the civil protection order to “relinquish any firearm or ammunition in the respondent’s immediate possession or control or subject to the respondent’s immediate possession or control.”4 Additionally, a court issuing a temporary civil protection order may “order any other relief that the court deems appropriate.”5 A court issuing a civil protection order may grant “such other relief as the court deems appropriate.”6

Individuals Who May Petition for a Domestic Violence Protection Order

The following persons may petition for the aforementioned protection order:

  1. A current or former relative;
  2. A current or former spouse;
  3. An individual who is the parent of a child of the subject of the order;
  4. A current or former cohabitant;
  5. A current or former intimate partner.7

Though the persons listed above may petition for a civil protection order, the court is required to include firearm removal only for the following petitioners:

  1. A current or former spouse;
  2. An individual who is the parent of a child of the subject of the order;
  3. A current or former cohabitant.8

Removal Process

A court issuing a civil protection order that qualifies as an order pursuant to 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(8) or (g)(8) shall order the subject of a civil protection order to “refrain from possessing or purchasing any firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order; and relinquish, for the duration of the order, any firearm or ammunition in the respondent’s immediate possession or control or subject to the respondent’s immediate possession or control.”9 The subject of the civil protection order is required to relinquish any firearm or ammunition within 24 hours of being served with the order in open court or within 48 hours of being served with the order outside of the court.10 If the respondent demonstrates to the satisfaction of the court that the respondent is unable to relinquish within the aforementioned time frames, the court may allow a respondent up to 72 hours to relinquish a firearm or up to 5 days to relinquish ammunition.11 To comply with the relinquishment requirement, a respondent may:

  1. Sell or transfer possession of the firearm or ammunition to a federally licensed firearms dealer;
  2. Arrange for a local law enforcement agency to store the firearm or ammunition; or
  3. Sell or otherwise transfer, in accordance with Colorado law regarding private firearm transfers, the firearm or ammunition to a private party who is not prohibited from possessing the firearm or ammunition.12

If a respondent is unable to satisfy the relinquishment procedures outlined above because they are incarcerated or otherwise in the custody of a law enforcement agency, the respondent shall be required to relinquish any firearm or ammunition in the respondent’s possession or control or subject to the respondent’s immediate possession or control within 24 hours after their release from incarceration or custody.13 If the respondent fails to do so, they shall be held in contempt of court.14 A federally licensed firearms dealer or a local law enforcement agency that elects to store relinquished firearms shall issue a receipt to the respondent at the time the respondent relinquishes possession of a firearm or ammunition.15 If a respondent sells or otherwise transfers a firearm or ammunition to a private party, the respondent shall acquire: (1) a written receipt from the transferee, which shall be dated and signed by both parties, and (2) from the licensed gun dealer who requests a background check of the transferee from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, a written statement of the results of a background check.16 Within 3 business days of relinquishment, the respondent shall file a copy of the receipt issued by the federally licensed firearms dealer, law enforcement agency, or private party and, if applicable, the written statement of the results of a background check with the court as proof of relinquishment.17 Failure to timely file a receipt or written statement constitutes a violation of the protection order and the court shall issue a warrant for the respondent’s arrest.18

Return of Firearms to Respondent

A federally licensed firearms dealer or local law enforcement agency that elects to store firearms or ammunition for a respondent shall not return the firearm or ammunition to the respondent unless the federally licensed firearms dealer or local law enforcement agency:

  1. Contacts the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to request that a background check of the respondent be performed; and
  2. Obtains the approval of the transfer from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation after the performance of the background check.19

Penalties for Violation

A violation of a protection order is a class 2 misdemeanor, unless the respondent has previously been convicted of violating a protection order or analogous municipal ordinance, in which case the violation is a class 1 misdemeanor.20

This page was updated September 5, 2018. Please note that data used are the most recent available data.