Clarifying Colorado gun laws after the Aurora theatre shooting

Denver Capital building
Colorado Capitol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

James Holmes, the 24 year-old former PhD student accused of opening fire on a theatre full of movie goers early this morning, allegedly possessed four firearms with him during the attack. 9News Denver is reporting that Holmes purchased the weapons legally, but what exactly are Colorado’s gun laws?

In order to purchase a firearm, individuals must possess a state issued identification that provides a photo, name, address and date of birth.


According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Colorado residents may not purchase a firearm if he or she:

  • Has been convicted in any court of a crime punishable by imprisonment for a term exceeding one year.
  • Is a fugitive from justice.
  • Is a unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance.
  • Has been adjudicated as a mental defective or has been committed to a mental institution.
  • Is an alien illegally or unlawfully in the U.S. or an alien admitted to U.S. under a nonimmigrant visa.
  • Has been discharged from the Armed Forces under dishonorable conditions.
  • Having renounced their citizenship to the U.S.
  • Is subject to a court order that restrains the person from harassing , stalking, or threatening an intimate partner; or
  • Has been convicted of a misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. [18 U.S.C. 922(g)]
  • Was adjudicated as a juvenile for an act that would have constituted a felony if committed by an adult.

Colorado allows individuals to transport firearms, loaded or unloaded, in their automobiles. According to the Colorado State Patrol website, local jurisdictions may not enact any laws restricting a person’s ability to transport their firearm.

The CSP website also states that, “you cannot carry the weapon concealed on or about your person while transporting it into your home, business, hotel room, etc.”

The state of Colorado also prohibits gun registration.

“I do think that we have good gun laws in Colorado that protect our citizens because they require background checks and waiting periods before someone can get a gun in hand,” said B.J. Nikkel, Colorado State Representative, District 49. “This guy in aurora passed the background checks because he didn’t have a criminal past. Unfortunately I think there are people in this world who are evil and choose to do evil things.”