I recently went into a Micro Center store, and was greeted by a sign at the entrance telling concealed carry customers they were not welcome in the store. I wondered what exposure those with a Concealed Carry Permit have for ignoring the sign and entering while carrying a concealed weapon in Arapahoe, Jefferson or Douglas County, Colorado. Would it be against the law to enter while carrying?
Can a Business Limit Who Comes Onto Their Property?
Colorado’s Concealed Carry Permit law is defined in pertinent part at C.R.S. 18-12-214. In part, the law states: “(1)(a) A permit to carry a concealed handgun authorizes the permittee to carry a concealed handgun in all areas of the state, except as specifically limited in this section.” Later, the law states, “(5) Nothing in this part 2 shall be construed to limit, restrict, or prohibit in any manner the existing rights of a private property owner, private tenant, private employer, or private business entity.” The last sentence of paragraph (5) is important to our discussion.
Property owners and tenants are allowed to set boundaries when people come onto their property in Denver, Adams or Weld County. For example, if I don’t want anyone drunk coming into my house, I can set that boundary. If drunk people come in anyway, they are treated as trespassers. I believe a business can do the same.
Under Colorado law, an Invitee is a person who comes onto another’s property to transact business. Businesses can define the scope of that Invitee status, by setting boundaries such as hours of operation, conduct (no yelling or making a scene), or non-interference with business operations. I was an Invitee when I entered the store. Since subsection (5) states that C.R.S. 18-12-214 shall not prohibit the rights of private property owners, tenants and businesses, I think stores can state that they do not want you in the store with a concealed weapon in Larimer or Grand County.
How You Can Become a Trespasser?
What is the penalty if I violate that restriction? I believe I have become a trespasser. I have violated the scope of my Invitee status and I am no longer legally authorized to be on that property. With this new status, the police could be called and I could be charged with Third Degree Trespassing, C.R.S. 18-4-504, in Aurora, Highlands Ranch or Castle Rock.
What can those who carry a concealed firearm do? They can protest the store’s policy, boycott the store, or leave their firearm in the car. They can also publicize the store’s lack of support for our right of self defense on blogs and firearms forums.
If you are charged with Trespassing in connection with the exercise of your concealed carry rights under Colorado law, be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call our experienced criminal defense lawyers. Together, we can protect your future.