See our Categories of Prohibited People policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
Federal law prohibits certain persons from purchasing or possessing firearms, such as felons, certain domestic abusers, and certain people with a history of mental illness.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is required to deny the transfer of a firearm when:
- The transfer would violate federal law;
- The transfer would violate Colorado law;
- The transferee has been arrested for or charged with a crime that would prohibit him or her from purchasing, receiving or possessing a firearm under state or federal law, and there has been no final disposition of the case or the final disposition has not been noted in the databases searched by CBI during a firearm transferee’s background check; or
- The transferee is the subject of an indictment, information or a felony complaint alleging that the prospective transferee has committed a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year as defined by federal law.1
Colorado’s Extreme Risk Protection Order (ERPO) Law, enacted in 2019, prohibits people subject to an ERPO from purchasing or possessing firearms.2
Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly possessing, using, or carrying upon his or her person a firearm subsequent to:
- The person’s conviction for a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law; or
- The person’s adjudication for an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute a felony, or an attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state’s law or under federal law.3
For provisions prohibiting domestic abusers from possessing guns, see Domestic Violence and Firearms in Colorado.
Firearm transfers by unlicensed sellers (non-firearms dealers) are subject to background checks in Colorado. See the Universal Background Checks in Colorado section.