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Can I Take My Gun Through a National Forest?

By Peters & Nolan, LLC on May 20, 2021

The laws surrounding firearms in Colorado are complex, with gun owners having to fulfill specific registration requirements and guidelines to legally transport their weapons. Making a mistake could easily lead to a criminal charge, but you should never forget your rights, especially if you are a hunter.

You are allowed to carry a firearm while visiting a National Forest in Colorado, but you must comply with federal regulations in addition to state laws. Specific rules apply to where firearms can be discharged or transported within National Parks, as detailed by the Colorado State Patrol, and the attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, have broken them down below.

What Are Colorado’s Laws on Firearms?

You are not required to register a firearm in the state of Colorado. You are allowed to carry a firearm in your vehicle if it is used for the lawful protection of yourself, others, or property, under Title 18 of the Colorado Revised Statutes. You may possess a handgun in a vehicle, place of business, or dwelling, but it must be in plain view. Qualified current or retired law enforcement officers are permitted to carry a concealed handgun.

Guns are allowed in vehicles under our state’s wildlife laws, including Title 33. But, unless you are otherwise authorized, it is unlawful to possess or control any firearm other than a pistol or a revolver in a vehicle, unless it is unloaded.

What Are the Rules About Transporting Firearms Through National Parks?

It is legal to possess a firearm in a National Park, provided you comply with the laws of the state where the park is located. If you are in a park in Colorado, state laws will apply to gun possession and transportation. However, federal statutes prohibit dangerous weapons, including firearms, within a “federal facility.” The definition of a federal facility is “a building or part thereof owned or leased by the Federal Government, where Federal employees are regularly present for the purpose of performing their official duties.” Visitors’ centers, administrative offices, and maintenance buildings are included in this definition.

Also, while in a National Forest, you may not discharge a weapon:

  • Within 150 yards of a campsite, building, residence, developed recreation site, or any occupied area;
  • Into or within any cave;
  • On or across a forest development road or an adjacent body of water; or
  • In any place or manner that could expose a person or property to injury.

How Do You Get a Permit to Carry a Concealed Weapon?

If you meet specific requirements, you can obtain a concealed handgun permit through the Sheriff’s office in the county where you live. You must carry valid photo ID and the permit at all times with the concealed weapon. If you are 21 years of age or older and were issued a permit to carry a concealed weapon by another state, that permit is considered valid in Colorado if there is reciprocity between the states (the other state recognizes Colorado’s concealed handgun permits). You will not need a permit when in a private vehicle.

Are Certain Types of Firearms Banned in Colorado?

Under Title 18, it is a criminal offense to possess a dangerous or illegal weapon. The term “illegal weapon” refers to a gas gun, a blackjack, or metallic knuckles. “Dangerous weapon” is defined as a:

  • Machine gun
  • Firearm silencer
  • Short rifle
  • Short shotgun
  • Ballistic knife

It is a class 5 felony to knowingly possess a dangerous weapon and a class 1 misdemeanor to knowingly possess an illegal weapon.

I Was Arrested for Having a Gun – What Do I Do?

If you have been accused of unlawful gun possession or another gun law violation, your best course of action is to speak with a lawyer right away. Our Grand Junction criminal defense attorneys at Peters & Nolan, LLC, have saved clients from decades of incarceration. Contact us at (970) 243-4357 to find out how we can help.

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Peters & Nolan, LLC is your ideal source for high quality legal representation throughout the state of Colorado. Known for being personable and responsive, attorneys Andrew J. Peters and Andrew Nolan are aggressive trial lawyers with an excellent record of trying and settling cases in criminal defense, DUI/DWAI and personal injury.

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