Authorities: Rules to buy guns minimal in Colorado

By: Rob Hughes Email
By: Rob Hughes Email

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) KKOC wanted to know what are the steps to get a gun, and what are the laws in Colorado? Authorities say because we're an "open carry" state, the rules to buy a gun are pretty minimal. As a matter of fact, you can buy a gun here in Colorado a lot quicker than you might think.

Colorado is an "open carry" state. That means it's legal to openly carry a fire arm in public. In order to conceal a gun, you need a permit through the Sheriff's office. "What we do with it is fingerprint, we take a photo of you, we process your application with a training certificate you would get from a certified trainer here in the area," says Heather Benjamin, public information officer with the Mesa County Sheriff's Office. Your application then goes to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for a background check. "It would include things like your criminal history, nationwide, things like that," adds Benjamin.

Background checks look into an applicants criminal past, and medical marijuana users aren't allowed to have a concealed weapons permit. The theater shooting suspect, James Holmes, bought some of his weapons at a retail store. He passed a background check to buy those weapons.

"For purchasing a firearm, there are two different age groups," says Lauren Truitt, Retail Events Coordinator with Cabela's in Grand Junction. Of course, you can also buy a gun from a retailer. "For a long gun, rifle, or shotgun, it's 18, and then for handguns, it's anyone 21 or older," says Truitt.

Retailers don't do the background checks themselves, they have customers fill out the forms and pass them along to authorities. "They do have to pass two different forms, one from the federal government, and one from here in Colorado," explains Truitt.

And it's up to those agencies whether a person can buy a gun. "Cabelas and most retail stores do not actually have any say one way or another if a person can actually buy a firearm."

You can also buy a gun online, but they won't sent it directly to your house. "Whoever you purchase that from will send it to a gun store, and then you have to do the paperwork to be able to purchase a firearm from the gun store. There's usually a small transfer fee, most gun stores are willing to do that, they just want to get you in the doors," says Linn Armstrong, a certified NRA instructor.

As soon as the background check is completed, the gun sale can go through, with no waiting period. "A person can fill the form out in that morning and leave that day, saying they got a yes on their background check," says Truitt.

A few places online you won't see guns for sale. On Craigslist, it is illegal to sell guns. It says it on their disclaimer. If you search guns on E-bay, you'll find out they only sell airsoft guns.

You do need to take a class to get your concealed weapons permit. The application is available on the Mesa County Sheriff's website. Police say it's important to know what concealed weapons laws are in other states if you're traveling with your gun. The are numerous resources online to research gun laws in each state.

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