Colorado law provides that:
A person or other public or private entity may not bring an action in tort, other than a product liability action, against a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, importer, or dealer for any remedy arising from physical or emotional injury, physical damage, or death caused by the discharge of a firearm or ammunition.1
Product liability actions for injury, damage, or death caused by the discharge of a firearm or ammunition may be based only upon “an actual defect in the design or manufacture of such firearm or ammunition and not upon the inherent potential of a firearm or ammunition to cause injury, damage, or death when discharged.”2
Colorado prohibits a firearms or ammunition manufacturer, importer, or dealer from being held liable as a third party “for the actions of another person.” Plaintiffs are liable for attorney fees in suits dismissed under the law.3
Colorado permits actions against a firearm or ammunition manufacturer, importer, or dealer for any damages proximately caused by an act of the manufacturer, importer, or dealer in violation of a state or federal statute or regulation.”4 In any such action, the plaintiff has the burden of proving by clear and convincing evidence that the defendant violated the state or federal statute or regulation.5
Colorado also provides rules regarding proximate cause relevant to product liability actions involving firearms or ammunition:
(1) In a product liability action, the actual discharge of a firearm or ammunition shall be the proximate cause of injury, damage, or death resulting from the use of such product and not the inherent capability of the product to cause injury, damage, or death.
(2) The manufacturer’s, importer’s, or distributor’s placement of a firearm or ammunition in the stream of commerce, even if such placement is found to be foreseeable, shall not be conduct deemed sufficient to constitute the proximate cause of injury, damage, or death resulting from a third party’s use of the product.
(3) In a product liability action concerning the accidental discharge of a firearm, the manufacturer’s, importer’s, or distributor’s placement of the product in the stream of commerce shall not be conduct deemed sufficient to constitute proximate cause, even if accidental discharge is found to be foreseeable.
(4) In addition to any limitation of an action set forth in section 13-80-119, in a product liability action brought by the criminal, it shall be an absolute defense that the injury, damage, or death immediately resulted from the use of the firearm or ammunition during the commission of the criminal act which is a felony or a class 1 or class 2 misdemeanor.6
Nothing contained in the product liability provisions for guns or ammunition will bar recovery where a plaintiff proves that the proximate cause of the injury, damage or death was a firearm or ammunition which contained a defect in manufacture causing it to be at variance from its design, or which was designed so that it did not function in the manner reasonably expected by an ordinary consumer of such a product.7
Finally, Colorado law limits lawsuits against shooting ranges based on noise emanating from the range.8
See our Gun Industry Immunity policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.