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The Ins and Outs of Colorado Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) Reciprocity

Understanding the Basics of Colorado’s Concealed Handgun Permit (CHP) Reciprocity

When you’re trying to grasp the concept of Colorado CCW reciprocity laws, start with a straightforward understanding: Colorado acknowledges Concealed Handgun Permits (CHP) from certain other states, and in turn, those states recognize Colorado’s permits. This mutual respect allows for the carrying of concealed weapons across state lines, given certain conditions are met.

Here’s a quick snapshot for those seeking immediate answers:

  • Colorado has limited reciprocity: It recognizes permits from specific states but not all.
  • Check before you travel: Because reciprocity agreements can change, always verify the current status before carrying concealed in another state.
  • Know the restrictions: Even within reciprocity states, local laws and restrictions apply. Familiarize yourself with them to stay within legal boundaries.

Understanding these key points is critical for anyone holding a CHP in Colorado or intending to carry a concealed weapon into Colorado from a reciprocity state. The reciprocity agreements dictate where you can and cannot legally carry concealed firearms, contingent upon you respecting the gun laws of the hosting state.

Infographic describing basics of Colorado CCW reciprocity, including a list of states with reciprocal agreements, essential requirements like being a resident of the issuing state and having a valid state ID, and a reminder to always check for the most current laws before traveling - colorado ccw reciprocity laws infographic pillar-4-steps

Colorado’s approach to concealed carry reciprocity is built on a foundation of mutual respect and legal agreement between states. However, the essentiality of being informed cannot be overstated—both for legal protection and personal safety.

Understanding Colorado CCW Reciprocity Laws

Navigating the landscape of concealed carry laws can be complex, especially when it involves understanding how different states’ laws interact. Colorado’s approach to CCW (carrying a concealed weapon) reciprocity is governed by specific criteria outlined in Colorado law (C.R.S. 18-12-213). Let’s break down the essentials to make this easier to understand.

States with Reciprocity

Colorado has established reciprocity agreements with several states. This means if you have a CCW permit from any of these states, you can legally carry a concealed weapon in Colorado, given you meet other criteria:

  • Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming

States Without Reciprocity

However, not all states have reciprocity with Colorado. If you hold a CCW permit from the following states, you cannot use it to carry concealed in Colorado:

  • California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Vermont, Washington

Requirements for Out-of-State Permit Holders

For those coming from states with reciprocity, Colorado imposes specific requirements to legally carry a concealed weapon within its borders:

  • Residency: You must be a resident of the state that issued your CCW permit. This is verified through a state-issued driver’s license or ID card.
  • Age: You must be 21 years of age or older to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado.
  • Valid Permit: Your CCW permit must be valid and not expired.

valid permit and state ID - colorado ccw reciprocity laws

Understanding these rules is crucial for anyone planning to carry a concealed weapon in Colorado or for Colorado residents traveling to other states. The reciprocity agreements mean that Colorado respects the CCW permits of certain states, but this respect is conditional on the permit holder meeting Colorado’s specific requirements.

Laws can change, and it is every gun owner’s responsibility to be up-to-date with current regulations. Before traveling, it’s a good idea to contact the state you are visiting to confirm reciprocity and review that state’s firearms laws. This proactive approach ensures you stay on the right side of the law and avoid any potential legal complications.

Colorado’s CCW reciprocity laws are designed to respect the rights of permit holders from other states while maintaining the safety and legal standards within its own borders. By understanding and adhering to these laws, permit holders can ensure they exercise their rights responsibly and legally.

Navigating Colorado’s Concealed Carry Laws

When it comes to carrying a firearm in Colorado, there are two main routes you can take: open carry and concealed carry. Let’s break down what each of these means, where you can’t take your firearm, and what could happen if you don’t follow the rules.

Open Carry vs. Concealed Carry

Open Carry is pretty much what it sounds like. You can carry a gun where people can see it. However, it’s not allowed everywhere. For example, Denver has its own rules that say no to open carry.

Concealed Carry requires a permit. This means you’ve got a gun on you, but it’s out of sight. Getting this permit means you’ve met certain requirements, like a background check and a firearms training course.

Prohibited Locations and Restrictions

Whether you’re carrying openly or your weapon is concealed, there are places you just can’t take your firearm. These include:

  • Schools: Carrying a firearm in or around schools is a no-go.
  • Government Buildings: Don’t bring your firearm into government buildings. This rule helps keep these spaces safe for everyone.
  • Illegal Weapons: Some weapons are off-limits altogether, no matter if you’re carrying them openly or concealed. This includes things like machine guns or anything else that’s considered too dangerous for the public.

Legal Consequences of Violations

Not following these rules? The consequences can be pretty serious. Here’s what you might be looking at:

  • Class 1 Misdemeanor: If it’s your first time breaking these laws, you could be charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor. This could mean up to one year in jail and a fine.
  • Class 5 Felonies: Keep breaking the law, and you could face a Class 5 felony. This is more serious, with possible prison time of 1 to 3 years, mandatory parole, and hefty fines between $1,000 and $100,000.
  • Firearm Possession Rights: One of the biggest risks of not following the law is losing your right to own or possess firearms in the future.

In summary, understanding the difference between open and concealed carry, knowing where you can’t take your firearm, and being aware of the potential legal consequences are key to navigating Colorado’s concealed carry laws. Always make sure you’re up to date on the latest regulations to avoid any potential legal complications. This knowledge helps ensure you stay on the right side of the law while exercising your rights.

Tips for Traveling with a Concealed Handgun

Traveling with a concealed handgun comes with a set of responsibilities to ensure safety and legality. Let’s dive into how you can prepare for your journey.

Checking Reciprocity Before Travel

Before you pack your bags, it’s crucial to know if your destination honors Colorado’s CCW permit. Not all states view Colorado CCW permits the same way.

  • Contacting States: A good starting point is to directly contact the state you plan to visit. They can provide the most current information about their reciprocity laws.
  • CCIC System: The Colorado Crime Information Center system can also be a valuable resource for checking which states have reciprocity agreements with Colorado.

Laws can change, so it’s important to get the most up-to-date information before you travel.

Understanding Local Laws

Once you’ve confirmed that your destination state honors your Colorado CCW permit, it’s time to familiarize yourself with their local laws.

  • Visiting State Laws: Each state has its own set of rules regarding where you can and cannot carry a concealed weapon. Some common restrictions include schools, government buildings, and places that serve alcohol.
  • Weapon Restrictions: Additionally, the type of weapons allowed might differ. What’s legal in Colorado might not be in another state.

Understanding these nuances can prevent unintentional legal issues during your travels.

Handling Police Encounters

If you find yourself in a situation where you’re interacting with law enforcement, knowing how to properly disclose your concealed carry status is essential.

  • Disclosure: Some states require immediate disclosure to law enforcement that you’re carrying a concealed weapon if you’re stopped. Know the requirements of the state you’re in.
  • Permit Presentation: Always have your CCW permit and a valid ID ready to present if asked by an officer. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure a smoother interaction.

Traveling with a concealed handgun requires a bit of homework and preparation. By checking reciprocity before travel, understanding local laws, and knowing how to handle police encounters, you can ensure a safe and legal trip. When in doubt, reach out to local authorities or legal resources for guidance. Safe travels!


Understanding the ins and outs of Colorado CCW reciprocity laws is more than just a legal requirement—it’s a step towards responsible gun ownership and ensuring your safety and the safety of others. The landscape of gun laws is complex and ever-changing, making it crucial for CCW permit holders to stay informed about the latest updates and changes in reciprocity agreements.

Colorado map gun laws - colorado ccw reciprocity laws

The importance of staying informed cannot be overstated. Laws can change, and what’s true today might not be tomorrow. This is where we come in. At COLaw, we’re committed to providing you with the most current and comprehensive information on Colorado gun laws. Our expertise extends to helping you navigate the complexities of carrying a concealed weapon, both within Colorado and when you’re traveling to other states.

We understand that the legalities surrounding concealed carry and reciprocity can be daunting. That’s why we’re here to help. Whether you’re planning a trip and need to understand the specific gun laws of your destination or you’re seeking clarification on Colorado’s stance on concealed carry, our team is equipped to provide you with the guidance and support you need.

Staying informed and compliant with state laws ensures that you can exercise your rights without inadvertently stepping into legal trouble. It’s also a sign of respect for the communities you visit and the legal systems in place. The goal of reciprocity laws and concealed carry regulations is to promote safety and responsible gun ownership.

For those looking to deepen their understanding of Colorado’s gun laws or seeking assistance with a specific legal matter related to concealed carry, we invite you to explore our practice areas. Our experienced team is ready to assist you with expert advice, ensuring that you’re well-prepared and informed, no matter where your travels take you.

In conclusion, the journey of a responsible gun owner is one of continuous learning and adaptation. By understanding reciprocity, staying informed on changes, and seeking COLaw assistance when needed, you’re taking important steps to ensure that you remain compliant, safe, and respectful of the laws that govern concealed carry across the United States.

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