Colorado law allows you to carry a concealed firearm if you were issued a valid concealed carry permit by the state or by another state that Colorado honors. A CCW can be obtained by
- any resident at least 21 years of age
- who is not otherwise prohibited from having a firearm.
Without such a permit, carrying a concealed weapon is normally a violation of Colorado law.
To help you better understand the process for obtaining a Colorado concealed handgun permit, our Denver criminal defense lawyers address the following faqs, below:
- 1. Who may obtain a Colorado concealed carry permit?
- 2. What is the cost and procedure to get a CCW?
- 3. How long is my concealed carry permit good for?
- 4. Are there restrictions on alcoholics and drug addicts?
- 5. Are there restrictions on carrying a concealed weapon?
You can obtain a Colorado permit to carry a concealed handgun from a local county sheriff’s office if ALL of the following apply:
- You are a legal resident of the state of Colorado (not a non-resident), or you or a member of your immediate family is a member of the armed forces on permanent duty at a military installation in Colorado;
- You are 21 years of age or older;
- You are not ineligible to possess a firearm under state or federal law;
- You have not been convicted of perjury in relation to information provided or deliberately omitted on a permit application;
- You do not chronically and habitually use alcoholic beverages to the extent that your normal faculties are impaired (unless you have an affidavit signed by a licensed professional addiction specialist confirming you have refrained from using alcohol for at least three years);
- You are not an unlawful user of, or addicted to, a controlled substance as defined under federal law and regulations;
- You are not subject to a permanent or temporary protection order at the time your application is submitted:
- You demonstrate competence with a handgun by submitting:
- Evidence of experience with a firearm through participation in organized shooting competitions or current military service;
- Evidence that, at the time your application is submitted, you are a certified instructor;
- Proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the United States armed forces within the three years preceding submittal of the application;
- Proof of honorable discharge from a branch of the United States armed forces that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application;
- A certificate showing retirement from a Colorado law enforcement agency that reflects pistol qualifications obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application; or
- A training certificate from a handgun training class (safety course) obtained within the ten years preceding submittal of the application. You must submit the original firearms training certificate or a photocopy thereof that includes the original signature of the class instructor.
However, even if you meet all of these requirements, if the sheriff has a reasonable belief that your documented previous behavior makes it likely you will present a danger to yourself or others if you receive a permit to carry a concealed handgun, the sheriff may deny your application.1
(CCW permits also go by CHP, short for concealed handgun permits.)
You can obtain a concealed carry application and information packet from the local sheriff in the county in which you reside or where you own or lease real estate that you use for business.
The processing fee for a concealed handgun permit application may not exceed $100. Plus there is a Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) fee for the background check and fingerprints, and this payment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.
The application process will require you to disclose:
- Your full name, birth name, date of birth, address and any other names you have previously gone by;
- Your home address(es) for the ten-year period immediately preceding submittal of your application;
- Whether you are a Colorado resident and whether you have a valid driver’s license or other state-issued photo identification (state ID) or a military order proving residence; and
- Whether you meet the criteria for obtaining a permit as set forth above.
Return your completed application form, in person, to the issuing sheriff and sign it in front of an authorized employee of the department. It may be possible to mail it in with a notarized signature, but ask in advance.
If you knowingly and intentionally make a false or misleading statement on a permit application or you deliberately omit any material information, your application can be denied and you can be charged with perjury
You will also be required to provide:
- A full set of fingerprints (to be taken by the Sheriff),
- Documentary evidence demonstrating competence with a handgun, as set forth above;
- A full frontal view color photograph of your head taken within the thirty days immediately preceding the submission of the permit application (or by the Sheriff). The photo must measure 1 1/8 inches wide and one 1 ¼” high, and shall show your full head, including hair and facial features; and
- A valid Colorado driver’s license or valid Colorado or military photo identification for comparison.
People may also apply for temporary emergency permits if they need the permit as soon as possible.2
Unless it is revoked, your Colorado concealed carry permit is good for 5 years from the date of issuance. After that, it must be renewed through a renewal application.
However, the sheriff may deny, revoke, or refuse to renew a permit if he or she has a reasonable belief that you no longer meet the criteria set forth above or that you present to yourself or others.
If the sheriff suspends or revokes your permit, you will be notified in writing of the grounds for suspension or revocation and given the opportunity to submit additional information for the record and to seek judicial review of the decision.
Permittees can apply for a permit renewal within one hundred twenty days prior to the expiration of your permit. Renewal forms can be obtained from:
- The sheriff of the county or city and county in which you reside, or
- The sheriff of the county or city and county in which you maintain a secondary residence or own or lease real estate you use for a business.
The fee for renewal shall not exceed $50.3
Check which states have CCW reciprocity with Colorado.
Colorado gun laws prohibit you from obtaining a Colorado concealed handgun carry permit if you are a habitual user of drugs and/or alcohol. You are considered a chronic and habitual user of alcoholic beverages with impaired faculties if:
- You have at any time been committed as an alcoholic, or
- Within the ten-year period immediately preceding the date on which your permit application is submitted, you have had two or more alcohol-related driving convictions in Colorado or any other jurisdiction.4
To make use of your permit, it must have a color photograph of you and you must have both it and a state-issued photo ID with you at all times during which you are in actual possession of a concealed handgun.
Upon demand by a law enforcement officer, you must produce both. Failure to carry and produce a permit and valid photo identification upon demand is a petty offense. It can be punished under state law by:
- A fine of up to $300, and/or
- Up to 10 days in jail.
However, if at or before the scheduled court appearance, permit holders show the court a valid permit and valid photo identification card issued before the date of your offense, the court will dismiss the charges.
In addition, having a concealed handgun permit does not authorize you to violate CRS 18-12-105, Colorado’s law on carrying a concealed weapon. Among the acts you may not do under this law are:
- Carry a concealed handgun into a place where the carrying of firearms is prohibited by federal law;
- Carry a concealed handgun into a public school (unless you are an armed security officer employed by the school or the school is legally used for hunting or other shooting sports);
- Carry a concealed handgun into a public building in which handguns are not legally permitted.5
See our related article, Do you have to register guns in Colorado?
For criminal defense representation…
Our Colorado criminal defense attorneys represent clients throughout the state on concealed carry violations and other Colorado gun crimes.
If you or someone you know has been arrested for violating a Colorado state firearms law, we invite you to contact us for a free consultation.
You can reach us through the confidential form on this page, or by calling us at our Denver home office:
Colorado Legal Defense Group
4047 Tejon Street
Denver CO 80211
- CRS 18-12-203; Peterson v. Martinez, (10th Cir. 2013) 707 F.3d 1197; see, e.g. Denver CCW application.
- Same. CRS 18-1.3-501.
- CRS 18-12-201 – 215; see also Seguna v. Maketa, (Colo. App. 2008) 181 P.3d 399; see also Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
- See note 1. See also CRS 18-12-106.
- See note 3. See also CRS 29-11.7-103 & 18-12-105.6(2)(a). Prior to March 1, 2022, forgetting to carry a permit was a class 1 petty offense carrying up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $500. SB21-271.