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In Colorado, it is generally a crime to sell, give or lend a gun to someone under the age of 18. The exception is if the gun is for lawful use – such as self-defense or competitive shooting – and is done with the permission of the juvenile’s parent or guardian.
Providing a handgun to a juvenile is a Colorado class 4 felony. Penalties can include:
Giving a child a firearm other than a handgun is a Colorado class 1 misdemeanor. It can be punished by:
To help you better understand Colorado’s law against giving a gun to a juvenile, our Colorado criminal defense lawyers discuss, below:
You do not violate 18-12-108.5 C.R.S. when the child is legally permitted to have a gun under Colorado 18-12-108.5 C.R.S, possession of handguns by juveniles.
Specifically, you may legally provide a gun to someone under the age of 18 if you are, or you have the permission of, the child’s parent or legal guardian and the juvenile is:
For purposes of these exceptions, a handgun is considered “loaded” if:
You may also legally give a gun to a juvenile if you reasonably believe the juvenile will physically harm you if you attempt to disarm him/her or prevent him/her from possessing the gun.
Providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun violates section 18-12-108.7 of the Colorado Revised Statutes (C.R.S). You can run afoul of this law in several ways.
18-12-108.7 (1)(a) C.R.S. provides:
Any person who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun with or without remuneration to any person under the age of eighteen years in violation of section 18-12-108.5 [possession of handguns by juveniles] or any person who knows of such juvenile’s conduct which violates section 18-12-108.5 and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent such violation commits the crime of unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.
18-12-108.7 (2)(a) C.R.S. provides:
Any person who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun to a juvenile or permits a juvenile to possess a handgun, even though such person is aware of a substantial risk that such juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony offense, or who, being aware of such substantial risk, fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the commission of the offense, commits the crime of unlawfully providing or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun. A person shall be deemed to have violated this paragraph (a) if such person provides a handgun to or permits the possession of a handgun by any juvenile who has been convicted of a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, or any juvenile who has been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for an offense which would constitute a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, if such juvenile were an adult.
Colorado 18-12-108.7 (3) C.R.S. provides:
With regard to firearms other than handguns, no person shall sell, rent, or transfer ownership or allow unsupervised possession of a firearm with or without remuneration to any juvenile without the consent of the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian.
Firearms that are not handguns include rifles, shotguns, and other guns with barrels exceeding 12” in length, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech,
Under 18-12-101 (1)(e.5):
“Handgun” means a pistol, revolver, or other firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged, the length of the barrel of which, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed twelve inches.
“Firearm” means any handgun, automatic, revolver, pistol, rifle, shotgun, or other instrument or device capable or intended to be capable of discharging, cartridges, or other explosive charges.
18-1-501 (5) C.R.S. provides:
“Intentionally” or “with intent”. All offenses defined in this code in which the mental culpability requirement is expressed as “intentionally” or “with intent” are declared to be specific intent offenses. A person acts “intentionally” or “with intent” when his conscious objective is to cause the specific result proscribed by the statute defining the offense. It is immaterial to the issue of specific intent whether or not the result actually occurred.
18-1-501 (6) C.R.S. provides:
“Knowingly” or “willfully”. All offenses defined in this code in which the mental culpability requirement is expressed as “knowingly” or “willfully” are declared to be general intent crimes. A person acts “knowingly” or “willfully” with respect to conduct or to a circumstance described by a statute defining an offense when he is aware that his conduct is of such nature or that such circumstance exists. A person acts “knowingly” or “willfully”, with respect to a result of his conduct, when he is aware that his conduct is practically certain to cause the result.
18-1-501 (8) C.R.S. provides:
“Recklessly”. A person acts recklessly when he consciously disregards a substantial and unjustifiable risk that a result will occur or that a circumstance exists.
Unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun is a Colorado class 4 felony. Consequences of giving a gun to someone under 18 can include:
Unlawfully providing a firearm other than a handgun to a juvenile is a Colorado class 1 misdemeanor. Punishment can include:
The best defense to providing a firearm to juvenile depends on the precise charge and circumstances. However, common defenses to 18-12-108.7 C.R.S. include (but are not limited to):
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