Colorado prohibits any person from knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carrying, bringing, or having in his or her possession a firearm, whether loaded or unloaded,1 in or on the property of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high or vocational school, or any public or private college, university or seminary.2 Exceptions to this prohibition include:
- Presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class;
- Carrying out the necessary duties of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon;
- Participating in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team;
- Possession of a firearm in the lawful possessor’s dwelling or place of business, or on property owned or under that person’s control at the time of possession;
- Possession in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance for protection of that person, another person, or their property while traveling;
- Possession of a handgun pursuant to a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit, except if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the state law described below that prohibits possession of a concealed handgun onto the property of a elementary, middle, junior high, or high school;
- Possession of a firearm by a school resource officer when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency; or
- Possession of a firearm for use in an educational program approved by a school that includes, but is not limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.3
A concealed handgun permittee may only carry a handgun on the property of a public elementary, middle, junior high or high school if he or she is: 1) on duty as a security guard for the school; 2) within his or her private vehicle (if the permittee is not with the vehicle, the handgun must be within a closed compartment within the locked vehicle); or 3) upon undeveloped property owned by a school district used for hunting or shooting sports.4 This provision does not apply to colleges, universities, and seminaries. Colorado requires the expulsion of any student who is determined to have brought a firearm to a school, or to have possessed a firearm at a school, for a period of not less than one year, except that the superintendent of the school district may modify this requirement for a student on a case-by-case basis if such modification is in writing.5
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Colorado held that the Board of Regents lacks the authority to regulate concealed handgun possession on University of Colorado campuses.6 Consequently, it is lawful for concealed handgun permit holders to carry concealed handguns on these campuses.
See our Guns in Schools policy summary for a comprehensive discussion of this issue.
- As defined under Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-1-901(3)(e).
- Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1).
- Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-105.5(1), (3).
- Colo. Rev. Stat. § 18-12-214(3).
- Colo. Rev. Stat. § 22-33-106(1.5).
- See Regents of the Univ. of Colo. v. Students for Concealed Carry on Campus,271 P.3d 496 (Colo. 2012).