Purchase & Sale of Firearms

Requirements of Private Firearm and Gun Sales in Colorado

Until the Colorado legislature has a change of heart, Colorado citizens in Denver and Jefferson County selling or buying guns through private sales with their friends and neighbors will have to jump through unreasonable hoops to complete a sale. These requirements are the result of our liberally minded legislature's east coast sponsored gun control measures. Be sure and consult a Colorado firearms transfer lawyer before buying or selling a gun in our state.

The Law on Firearm Transfers in Colorado

Starting July 1, 2013, before a buyer (transferee) can buy a firearm, and before a seller (transferor) can sell a gun in Colorado, the seller "shall arrange for a licensed gun dealer to obtain the background check." C.R.S. 18-12-112. This means that a FFL dealer must do the CBI background check for the parties to the sale. The buyer must fill out an application to buy a gun in Adams and Eagle County, just as if they were making a purchase from the licensed firearm dealer. Once the dealer obtains the results of the background check, they must record the transaction: "A licensed gun dealer who obtains a background check on a prospective transferee shall record the transfer . . . and retain the records . . . in the same manner as when conducting a sale, rental, or exchange at retail. The licensed gun dealer shall comply with all state and federal laws . . . as if he or she were transferring the firearm from his or her inventory to the prospective transferee." C.R.S. 18-12-112 (2)(b). Both the seller of the gun and the buyer are entitled to a copy of the background check results. Under Colorado law, this background check is good for up to 30 days.

Colorado Private Firearm Sale = Gun Dealer Sale

This sale really does become the same as one from a licensed gun dealer, because in addition to keeping a record of the sale (which must include information on the firearm itself), any denial to buy / sell from the background check, is reportable to law enforcement. Gone is the privacy we had in the past when buying or selling a gun or rifle. Next, the potential buyer in Lakewood or Westminster may be prosecuted for any unlawful conduct by the attempt to buy. For example, if the person had a restraining order or prior felony, they could be charged with a crime for attempting to obtain a gun when they are ineligible.  An example would be the crime of Attempted Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender, which is a felony.

Exceptions to the New Firearms Law

Exceptions to this law in Arapahoe and Douglas County include antique firearms, a loan or gift between close family members, the transfer following a death, a temporary transfer in the home of the transferee, at a shooting range for temporary use of the gun, shooting competitions, while hunting, for a firearm's repair and for use while in the continuous presence of the transferor. There are detailed restrictions for transfers in each of these categories, so be sure and consult a local firearms lawyer regarding your specific situation before acting.

Penalties for Violating Colorado's Private Gun Transfer Law

Violation of the detailed rules and regulations governing firearm transfers in Aurora and Arvada, Colorado may result in you being charged and convicted of a Class One Misdemeanor, with penalties including up to eighteen months in the Denver County Jail and prohibition from possessing a firearm for two years. Additionally, there are steep civil liability issues for a transfer contrary to law in the event the buyer uses the gun to harm another person. Compliance with the law can result in exemption from civil liability under similar circumstances.

Until our legislature comes to its senses and stops restricting our rights to buy and sell firearms, we are stuck with this unreasonable law. Always consult a full time criminal defense attorney who understands firearm transfer (buying and selling) law in our state before acting. Never give a statement to police who contact you about a transfer, but call our firearms attorneys at 303-731-0719. Together, we can protect your future.

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