Back to School: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Colorado

Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards:

Let’s talk for a few moments about whether or not you can bring a firearm onto a college campus, if you’re going heading back to school and in college, or you’re going back to school, or your kids are going back to school in a primary or high school.

Public University

Starting with college: If you are going to a public university, there’s case law on point that the university cannot limit your ability to carry concealed with a concealed handgun license on the campus as long as you’re in public areas. The schools sometimes find a way around that by through a contractual relationship, for example, if you are living in a dorm and they have a landlord, and you’re in a tenant-type of a relationship, sometimes through that contract, they’re able to limit your ability to carry the firearm within the dormitory. I think it’s a bad idea to have the firearm in your dorm room, as college kids tend to have alcohol around them, and I think it’s very you’re asking for trouble if there’s alcohol and guns nearby.

But, what can you do? What is the law? That’s what we’re here to discuss today and so the public universities are not able to just outright limit your ability to carry a firearm concealed on campus, notwithstanding the fact that they have signs posted saying or policies saying that you can’t carry concealed.

Please call my office to discuss your exact situation, because there are nuances from university to university.

Private University

Private universities are totally different. A private university can limit your ability to carry concealed on campus anywhere, so make sure that you do take advantage of us as a resource for you, and we will help answer all of your questions.

Now let’s toggle over to parents dropping off kids at school this year.

Drop Off

So if you are, let’s just say, driving your child to school, and you’re going to drop them off now let’s just say in the drop off circle or somewhere on the school property, even if you decide to go in and take them inside, you’re fine to do that with a firearm in your car, as long as it’s unloaded and locked in the glove box. If you have a CCW, that’s fine, if you do not have a CCW, you cannot do this. You’ll need to park your vehicle off campus or off school property and walk your child up or go up there to collect your child from the school.

If you don’t have a child, and a school zone happens to be something you have to drive through once, twice, or even more times on your way to work, or wherever you’re going, you do not need to avoid the school district just because school’s back in session, and you have a gun in your car, as long as you’re just driving directly through the school zone, you’re not going to have any problems. It’s not until you pull into the school that we start to have to wonder or ask questions.

Do you have a CCW? And if you do, is your gun locked… unloaded and locked in your glove box?

Teachers are sometimes allowed to bring firearms into school. They have to do this under a special exception that allows them as a school security or school resource officer to carry a firearm.

I highly suggest that if you’re a U.S. LawShield® member, you contact my office, and let’s review that policy together, and make sure that the school district is in compliance with state and federal laws. It’s extremely important. We’re walking a very thin line here and I want to make sure that you, our Member, is doing everything perfectly.

Thank you, I look forward to talking to each one of you about these issues and more.

5 comments on “Back to School: Firearms Laws You Need to Know in Colorado

  • Please confide to me the ramifications of my wife’s father leaving his guns to my wife. I am being left out of the will because I am a witness to the signing.

    Reply
  • Vernon J Temple says:

    Wow; I guess this is where it’s going. I can’t even have a CCW and drop my girls off at the school without my weapon unloaded and locked in the glove box. First off, under what conditions are they going to search my car to see if I’m complying? And second, if I’m driving up with my kids still in the car and some nut job opens fire, I’m tempted to just back up and drive off without engaging. Why should a good samaritan risk helping this kind of culture?

    Reply
  • Rick Butler says:

    Your comment about having it locked in your glove box. Most new cars do not have a locked glove box. You also state that needs to be locked, trigger/cable lock? Does this mean that you have two levels of security; cable lock and glove box?

    Would the following be allowed?
    – -Unloaded and locked in an approved gun case in the trunk, The ammo stored separately in a different container. Basically out of reach and out of sight. But no trigger/cable lock

    Thanks, Rick

    Reply
  • According to section18-12-214-(3)(a) of the Colorado Statutes, if you have a CCW, are on public school property, and leave the vehicle, there is no requirement for the gun to be locked in the glove box or other compartment, and no mention of whether the gun should be loaded or not; it just has to be locked in the car, in a compartment. This is still what is posted on the El Paso County Sheriff’s website in the concealed carry info packet. We understand that additional security is wise, but that is what it states. Has this changed?

    Reply
  • Thom Hillson says:

    We carry guns in our cars, loaded and not locked. We do keep the cars locked, even in our own garage. Is that generally verboten? Our kids are grown and moved away, and it’s now just the two of us but we are elderly.

    Reply

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