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You may be able to carry a concealed weapon with a proper permit in Colorado, and you may be lawfully allowed to use recreational marijuana—but you can’t do both.
Advocates for gun rights in Colorado have been working on a proposed bill that would amend this statute, allowing lawful users of marijuana to obtain permits. According to a report from the Cortez Journal, proponents have been unable to collect the 98,492 signatures needed to place the initiative on the state ballot.
As of today, Federal law bans both medical and recreational marijuana users from owning or buying firearms or ammunition. As a marijuana user in Colorado, you could be charged with a weapons crime if you own or purchase a gun.
Colorado recognizes our constitutional right to bear arms, and allows handguns and certain other weapons. However, both state and federal law regulates how and where weapons can be used, and by whom. In certain circumstances, you could be charged with a crime for simply possessing a firearm because of who you are and whether you’ve had your weapons rights restricted.
Below, we’ve listed eight common categories of individuals who may not legally possess a firearm:
Felons. In Colorado, anyone who has been convicted of a felony may not lawfully possess a weapon. This also includes individuals who have pleaded guilty to a felony, even if it was part of a plea deal that was later withdrawn or rejected.
Mentally ill individuals. According to federal law, you may not own a firearm if you have been committed to a mental institution or have been declared by a court as a mental defective.
Illegal aliens. Illegal immigrants, or aliens who have been admitted to the US under a nonimmigrant visa, may not lawfully carry a firearm.
Illegal drug users. The federal Gun Control Act prohibits individuals who are unlawful users of or addicted to any controlled substance. Since federal law trumps Colorado law in this situation, this bars Colorado medical and recreational marijuana users from owning a firearm even though marijuana use has been legalized in our state.
Ex-citizens. If you renounce your US citizenship, you may not lawfully carry a firearm in the US.
Dishonorable discharges. After being dishonorably discharged from the Armed Forces, you may lose your right to own a firearm.
Domestic violence offenders. In Colorado, you may be prohibited from carrying a firearm if you have been convicted of a domestic violence crime. Similarly, certain types of protection orders may bar you from carrying a firearm.
Minors. With some exceptions, individuals under 18 years of age may not carry a firearm.
Possession of a weapon by any of these prohibited persons may be a felony offense. It is also a felony to sell or transfer a weapon to a person who you have reasonable cause to believe is prohibited from weapon use.
If you have been charged with this type of weapon crime in Colorado, you are facing serious consequences to your freedom, finances, and future. The crime of possession of a weapon by a prohibited person is punishable by prison time, heavy fines, and a lifelong criminal record.
Don’t gamble with your freedom by attempting to fight a weapons crime charge on your own—contact a criminal defense attorney with experience in Colorado gun laws. Your weapons crimes attorney can review your case and help you plan a solid defense, putting you in the best position to have your charges reduced or dropped.
About the Author:
Denver-based criminal defense and DUI attorney Jacob E. Martinez is a knowledgeable and experienced litigator with a record of success providing innovative solutions to clients facing criminal charges of any severity. Mr. Martinez has been designated a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers and has been awarded both the Avvo Client’s Choice Award and Avvo Top Attorney designation, evidencing his reputation for his exemplary criminal and DUI defense work and high moral standards.