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Note: The processes listed below apply to the majority of people. If you are active-duty military, honorably discharged military, law enforcement, or retired law enforcement, the processes below may be slightly different (easier) when applying for a concealed carry permit.
Types of Concealed Carry Permits
Note: Colorado (CO) sometimes refers to their concealed carry permit as a concealed handgun permit.
- Must be a minimum of 21 years old to apply
- Must reside in Colorado
- Valid for 5 years
- Costs $52.50, although your local sheriff can charge an additional amount which cannot exceed $100
Note: Any resident or non-resident that is 21 years old and can legally possess a firearm may open carry. No permit is required in this case. However, certain cities have banned open carry on city property. Check with your local city to be sure.
Is it Required to Carry Concealed?
It Depends On Your City. Certain cities have banned open carry on city property. Some cities, including Denver, have ruled open carry illegal altogether. Check with your local city to be sure.
May Issue or Shall Issue?
Colorado is a shall issue state, meaning the law states that they shall issue a permit if you meet all requirements.
Process to Apply
To get a concealed carry permit in Colorado, you are required to apply in the town of your local sheriff’s office.
- Pick up an application from the local sheriff’s office.
- Complete an in person handgun training course that includes live fire. This is needed to prove you are competent with a handgun. This requirement may be waived for honorably discharged Armed Forces members, retired law enforcement, and licensed firearms instructors.
- The following items should be included as part of completing the application:
- Turn in the certificate that proves you completed a CO approved handgun training course.
- Present your CO state issued I.D. or driver’s license.
- Present a U.S. birth certificate, U.S. Passport, Alien Registration number (with 90-day proof of residency), or other legal documentation that proves you are lawfully in the United States.
- A photograph taken of yourself in the past 30 days. This photo needs to show your entire head, hair, and facial features. Speak with your local sheriff’s office for exact size requirements – some offices will even take the photograph for you. In some counties, this isn’t required until after your application is approved.
- Application fee: $52.50 plus any additional fee, not to exceed $100, required by your local sheriff’s office.
- Permit fee: this fee varies and will cover the cost to process your application. It cannot exceed $100. The fee may or may not be required by your local sheriff’s office.
- Background Check fee: this fee varies, and will cover the cost of processing your fingerprints through the FBI to conduct your criminal background check.
- Sign the concealed handgun permit application as the sheriff witnesses. Do not sign beforehand.
- After submitting the rest of the paperwork and signing the completed application, the sheriff’s office will take two complete sets of fingerprints to be used to complete your background check.
After these steps are completed, the department processing the application is legally required to inform you in 90 days or less whether the permit has been approved or denied. A denial, whether it be for a new issue or a renewal, may be appealed.
Reasons an Applicant Won’t Be Approved
Your application is almost guaranteed to be denied if you meet any of the following conditions:
- You have a medical marijuana permit, card, or certificate. This is because federal law prohibits any user of a controlled substance to possess a firearm.
- You are illegally in the United States.
- You’ve been convicted of a felony.
- You’ve been convicted of a violent crime, including domestic violence.
- You’ve been convicted of a crime punishable by a prison term greater than 1 year.
- You are subject to a restraining order or other similar court order.
- You are a drug addict, habitual drunkard, an unlawful user of any controlled substance, or are determined to be of unsound mind.
- You have a mental illness.
- You’ve received voluntary or involuntary treatment in a psychiatric hospital, mental institution, or similar treatment facility for any reason.
- You are a fugitive from justice.
- You’ve been dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces.
- You are subject to a firearms seizure order.
Location Restrictions for Carrying
It is unlawful to carry a handgun, even if you have a concealed carry permit, in the following locations:
- Federal buildings.
- Federal prisons.
- Indian reservations.
- Post offices.
- Military bases.
- School property.
- Any public building in which entrance to said building is guarded by security personnel and you need to pass through an electronic screening device to enter the building.
- Passed the security checkpoint at airports.
- Anywhere you decide to consume alcohol. You cannot carry a firearm if you consume any alcohol.
Transporting a Handgun Through & Throughout CO
Whether you have a CO or CO recognized concealed carry permit or not, so long as you can legally possess a handgun, you may transport a loaded handgun on your person in a vehicle for a legal use.
Additional Notes About CO Handgun Law
Does CO Law Incorporate Stand Your Ground?
The Stand Your Ground law permits you to use force, and not retreat, when faced with a threat. Stand Your Ground protects your use of force, even deadly force, when used to protect yourself or others if you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death. To be protected under Stand Your Ground, you must be in a place where you have the lawful right to be.
Does CO Law Incorporate the Castle Doctrine?
The Castle Doctrine is similar to Stand Your Ground. The Castle Doctrine permits you to use force (even deadly force), and not retreat, when you’re in your own home. This again assumes you reasonably believe there is an imminent threat of serious harm or death on yourself or others in your home.
This ‘castle’ is sometimes broadened to cover you when you’re in your yard, car, etc. Each state’s Castle Doctrine law is written differently – consult your state’s law to confirm if your state extends the meaning of a ‘castle’ to cover more than just your home.
Reciprocity – What State Permits Does CO Recognize?
CO honors the concealed carry permit of another state so long as all of the following applies:
- The permit was issued to a resident of the state; non-resident permits are not recognized
- The permit holder is 21 or older
- The state honors the CO concealed carry permit
Therefore, the colored map in the section below shows (1) states that recognize the CO concealed carry permit and (2) state concealed carry permits that CO recognizes.
Go here for more information on reciprocity.
Reciprocity – Where is the CO Permit Recognized?
The CO concealed carry permit is recognized in the following states: