Colorado law incorporates federal law prohibiting the purchase or possession of a firearm or ammunition by people subject to certain domestic violence protective orders or convicted of certain domestic violence crimes.1 Upon sentencing of domestic violence misdemeanants and felons, Colorado law requires courts to issue an order instructing the defendant to refrain from possessing or purchasing any firearm or ammunition for the duration of the order; and relinquish any firearm or ammunition subject to the defendant’s immediate possession or control.2 Abusers subject to these prohibitions are also subject to the federal law.  Colorado law does not, however cover people convicted of violent misdemeanors against a dating partner or subject to a protective order obtained by a dating partner.

Notably, Colorado requires a protective order to be issued whenever a criminal case is pending to prohibit the defendant from harassing, molesting, intimidating, retaliating against, or tampering with any witness to or victim of the acts charged.  In domestic violence cases, this protective order may trigger the federal law, meaning that the person is prohibited from possessing firearms and ammunition while the case is pending.3 The court may prohibit the defendant from possessing firearms during this time, even in some cases when the federal law is not triggered.4

Colorado law also prohibits the purchase or possession of a firearm or ammunition by anyone subject to a temporary civil protection order.5 Such orders may be issued “ex parte” (without a full hearing) in certain circumstances. 6

Possession of a firearm or ammunition in violation of a court order is a punishable offense.7

Colorado law sets forth a procedure for domestic abusers to surrender firearms and ammunition already owned at the time they become prohibited from possession. The law generally requires the person to surrender firearms and ammunition not more than 24 hours of being served with a qualifying order, subject to certain exceptions, to any person who has undergone a background check.  If the person is held in the custody of a law enforcement agency, the surrender must occur within 24 hours of release. The person must file a receipt demonstrating that firearms and ammunition have been surrendered with the court within three business days of the surrender. The law includes extensive provisions to protect law enforcement’s decision to store, or not store, firearms or ammunition on behalf of a protective order defendant.8

When an inmate is released from prison or other custody of the Colorado Department of Corrections following a conviction for a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence, the Department is required to submit a written statement to the inmate notifying him or her that it is a crime if he or she possesses or uses a firearm.9

Colorado does not explicitly authorize or require the removal of firearms or ammunition at the scene of a domestic violence incident.

See our Domestic Violence & Firearms policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.

Notes
  1. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5,  18-1-1001(9), 18-6-801(8). ⤴︎
  2. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-801(8). ⤴︎
  3. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-1001(9). ⤴︎
  4. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-1001(3)(c). ⤴︎
  5. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5(11). ⤴︎
  6. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-104.5. ⤴︎
  7. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-6-803.5(1)(c). ⤴︎
  8. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 13-14-105.5,  18-1-1001(9), 18-6-801(8). ⤴︎
  9. Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-108(6)(c)(I). ⤴︎