Although possessing and owning firearms is a constitutional right, various state and federal laws restrict many aspects of firearm ownership and usage. These laws place strict limits on who can own guns, where they can carry guns, and how they can use guns. A conviction for gun charges can have harsh consequences in the State of Colorado. Let a Westminster gun lawyer help protect your rights.
A criminal lawyer at Nicol Gersch Petterson can review the facts of the case, including the arrest and evidence to help build a defense. Reach out to Jenn and Justie to discuss your rights and legal options following a firearm charge.
Federal law categorically prohibits individuals from possessing firearms if they have a conviction for any crime that can result in more than one year in jail, which includes most felony convictions. Furthermore, convictions for domestic violence offenses can also remove the gun rights of individuals. Similarly, Colorado Revised Statutes Annotated § 18-12-108 makes it a Class 6 felony offense for individuals with convictions for felonies, attempted felonies, and conspiracy to commit felonies to possess or own any firearms.
Other individuals who may not possess firearms under federal law include mentally defective individuals, those who have been committed to mental institutions, or those who are fugitives from justice. Other ineligible persons include drug addicts and fugitives from justice. State law further restricts which individuals are eligible for a concealed carry permit, which is necessary for anyone to carry handguns outside their homes, personal vehicles, or while hunting.
Some people do not qualify for a concealed carry permit under Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-12-203. These individuals include those who are under age 21, who are subject to protective orders, or who have no legal immigration status, among others. Violation of this code section can result in Class 2 misdemeanor charges, but as a gun lawyer in Westminster may advise, individuals with prior felony convictions may face felony charges for a violation.
State law also prohibits individuals from carrying deadly weapons, including firearms, in specific locations. For example, it is illegal for individuals to bring firearms on the grounds of any public or private school, from elementary schools to colleges and universities. However, individuals can store unloaded weapons in their private vehicles on school grounds or carry guns while traveling in their private vehicles on school grounds if they have a valid permit to do so.
Exemptions to this law also exist for school resource officers and educational programs that involve an exhibition of weapons or course on repairing or maintaining weapons. Violation of this section can result in Class 6 felony charges. Given the severity of the charges for this offense, consulting a tenacious gun attorney in Westminster may be beneficial.
Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-12-106 makes it a Class 2 misdemeanor offense to purposely and unlawfully aim a firearm at another person. Likewise, this code section makes it illegal for individuals to discharge a gun recklessly or with criminal negligence or to knowingly set an unattended loaded gun so that it will discharge when tripped or approached. Furthermore, it is a Class 5 felony to knowingly or recklessly discharge a firearm into a home, building, or motor vehicle that is occupied by anyone.
Some guns are not permissible under state law altogether. Colo. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 18-12-102 designates some guns as “dangerous weapons.” These firearms include machine guns, short shotguns, or short rifles. Knowingly possessing a dangerous weapon is a Class 5 felony offense, with any subsequent offenses being Class 4 felony offenses.
Firearm offenses can create a permanent record that makes various aspects of your life more challenging. In some cases, you never will be able to legally possess guns again. Instead of facing possible jail time and high fines on your own, you may benefit from representation in your criminal proceedings by a Westminster gun lawyer.
By working with legal counsel, you may be able to obtain a reduction or dismissal of charges, if possible. You also may be able to get a reduction in potential penalties. Having legal advice in this situation can be critical to a favorable resolution of your case.