After the tragic shooting at an Aurora, Colorado theater, gun laws in the state have come under intense scrutiny and many have called for stricter gun regulations. Colorado gun laws, however, are varied, and Aurora actually has some of the strictest restrictions in the state.
What must be cleared up first is that there is a difference between the state and municipal laws and the rules set by the Century 16 movie theater where the grisly shooting took place. The theater had a ban on walking in with firearms, and also on concealed carry permit holders from bringing their guns on the premises. The theater’s rules were quite restrictive, but did not prevent the shooter from committing the crime anyway.
The Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence, a law center that advocates for tighter gun restrictions, rated Colorado 27th in terms of strictness of gun laws.
Colorado does not have an assault weapons ban, magazine restrictions and does not require a permit to purchase a handgun. However, there are fairly strict laws regarding gun use at a municipal level.
Aurora’s municipal laws disallow having a concealed carry for a “dangerous weapon,” discharging a firearm if not an official member of law enforcement, and having a loaded firearm in a vehicle. While the shooter broke all of these laws, they also prevented law abiding citizens from shooting back and stopping him.
Before the shooting in Aurora took place, the biggest gun related news was the state Supreme Court’s ruling on March 5 that would allow students to carry concealed weapons on college campuses. Students for Concealed Carry (SCC) had previously sued the state, claiming that the University of Colorado violated the state’s concealed carry policy. While many municipalities, like Aurora, Denver and Boulder have tighter gun restrictions than the state, it could become increasingly difficult for them to enforce those laws if challenged in court.
SCC’s national spokesman, David Burnett, said after the Colorado Supreme Court decision to allow concealed carry on college campuses, “Gun-free policies are an open invitation to psychopaths. Signs on the doors are an unenforceable lie that only robs licensed citizens of their ability to defend themselves. Until colleges can guarantee our safety, they can’t criminalize self-defense.”
Guns & Patriots will be taking a look at gun laws in the states and reporting on laws, statistics, trends and events that matter. The intention of these reports is not to be comprehensive or to report on every story coming out of the state, just an overview of where the states are based on the view that the support of gun rights and responsible gun ownership are the best ways to protect liberty and the safety of American citizens.
Since the states are the great laboratory of America’s federal system it is appropriate to look at what is working and not working at that level.
Here is a short run-down of basic Colorado state laws:
State Permit to Purchase? No
Assault weapon ban? Mostly no (only in Denver)
Open Carry? Yes
Concealed carry permits? Yes
Castle doctrine? Yes
Make My Day law? Yes