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Colorado Passes Bill to Raise Firearm Purchase Age to 21, Plus Other Restrictions

Written by Orchid


March 15, 2023


White text atop red background next to Colorado state flag

This week, the Colorado Senate passed a package of gun bills that impacts both gun owners and firearms businesses in the Centennial State. The legislation now heads to House before reaching the desk of Governor Jared Polis where they are expected to be signed into law.

Below is a summary of the three Senate-passed gun control bills:

Senate Gun Control Bills

SB23-169: Increasing Minimum Age to Purchase Firearms
Colorado Senate Bill 23-169 would raise the minimum age to purchase and possess all firearms from 18 to 21 years of age, with specific exceptions. Currently, Colorado follows federal law, prohibits the purchase and transfer of handguns and NFA weapons by individuals under 21, and long guns (rifles and shotguns) by individuals under the age of 18. The new law would also include retail transfers and sales – including private party transfers.

Exceptions include those under 21 in possession of firearms for the purpose of:

  • Attending a hunter’s education or firearms safety course
  • Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting, where authorized
  • Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm
  • Hunting, trapping, taking, or killing wildlife as allowed by law
  • Participating in a bona fide shooting class, training, or sanctioned event, under the supervision of a peace officer or a person who is 25 years of age or older and is a certified hunter education or firearms training instructor
  • Participating in an accredited gunsmithing course
  • Traveling with an unloaded firearm to any of the exceptions listed
  • Serving as an active member of the United States armed forces
  • Serving as a peace officer or certified by the P.O.S.T. board

Update: SB 169 was signed into law in April and is effective August 5, 2023.

SB23-170: Extreme Risk Protection Order Petitions
Colorado Senate Bill 23-170 would expand the use of existing state “red flag” law to also include licensed medical care providers, mental health care providers, and educators (e.g., teachers and faculty members), as well as district attorneys. Currently, only family or household members and law enforcement officers or agencies could petition for an extreme risk protection order to confiscate an individual’s firearms if specific criteria was met.

A petition for an extreme risk protection order must:

  • Allege that the individual poses a significant risk of causing personal injury to self or others by purchasing, possessing, or receiving a firearm and must be accompanied by an affidavit stating the specific statements, actions, or facts that give rise to a reasonable fear of future dangerous acts
  • Identify number, types, and locations of any firearms the individual possesses
  • Identify whether the individual is required to possess, carry, or use a firearm as a condition of their current employment
  • Identify whether there is a known existing domestic abuse protection or emergency protection order governing the petitioner or individuals
  • Identify whether there is a pending lawsuit, complaint, petition, or other action between parties of the petition
  • Identify whether the petitioner informed a local law enforcement agency regarding the individual

Update: SB 170 was signed into law in April.

SB23-168: Gun Violence Victims’ Access To Judicial System
Colorado Senate Bill 23-168 would repeal product liability actions against firearm and ammunition manufacturers to situations in which there was a defect in their design or manufacture. The legislation would require industry members engaged in the manufacture, distribution, importation, marketing, or wholesale or retail sale of industry-related products (e.g., firearms, ammunition, magazines) in Colorado to establish and implement reasonable controls and precautions related to products in their control.

Reasonable controls include procedures, safeguards, and business practices designed and implemented to:

  • Prevent the sale or distribution of an industry product to:
    • A straw purchaser or firearm trafficker
    • A person who prohibited by state or federal law from possessing a firearm industry product
    • A person the firearm industry member has reasonable cause to believe is at substantial risk of using a firearm industry product to harm themselves or unlawfully harm another or of otherwise unlawfully possessing or using a firearm industry product
  • Prevent the loss or theft of a firearm industry product from a firearm industry member
  • Ensure the firearm industry member does not promote or facilitate the unlawful manufacture, sale, possession, marketing, or use of a firearm industry product
  • Ensure the firearm industry member complies with all provisions of state and federal law

A person or entity that has suffered harm as a result of a firearm industry member’s acts or omissions in violation of the law may bring civil action against the industry member.

Update: SB 168 was signed into law in April and is effective October 1, 2023.

2023 Firearms Industry Conference (FIC) logo and white text atop blue background

House Gun Control Bills

HB23-1219: Waiting Period To Deliver A Firearm
Currently awaiting a vote and anticipated passage by the state Senate, Colorado House Bill 23-1219 would establish a mandatory 3-day waiting period after initiating a background check before a firearms seller may deliver a firearm to a transferee/purchaser. Currently, Colorado does not have a waiting period for the transfer/sale of firearms beyond requiring dealers to first receive a response from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Update: HB 1219 was signed into law in April and is effective October 1, 2023.

Stay State Compliant

State and local firearm laws – like those on the docket in Colorado – often change more frequently than Federal regulations, putting an increased burden on FFLs to stay up to date on the latest legislation. From purchase age and waiting period restrictions to selling to out-of-state customers and manufacturing state-compliant products, firearm businesses must abide by state restrictions to avoid revocation and guard against liability.

At Orchid, our state restrictions tool, Orchid eState™, enables retail FFLs to monitor and check transactions against state and local-level firearm laws by customer ZIP code, product characteristics, and item UPC to prevent illegal sales in-store and online. Plus, our in-house compliance experts and legal professionals at Orchid Law can help your firearms business navigate changing state laws and regulations to stay compliant and protect your FFL from ATF.

To get started with Orchid eState™ or Orchid compliance and legal services, contact us today to learn more.

Stay State Compliant