The season for wildfires has arrived and if the past few years have shown us anything, it’s that you can never be too prepared for what Mother Nature has in store.
U.S. LawShield wants all of its members to be safe in times of natural disaster and declared emergency situations. The State of Colorado provides information on preparing for wildfires and other hazard preparedness at www.Ready.gov/Colorado, and we recommend you review that information carefully so you can be prepared in case of a wildfire or other hazard. In that regard, we also want to make sure you stay legal in times of an emergency.
Traveling During Emergencies
Remember that Colorado law allows a person to carry a concealed firearm in a privately owned vehicle for the lawful protection of themselves or a third party (found in C.R.S. 18-12-105(2)(b)). Even as to local jurisdictions such as Denver that prohibit the possession of certain types of weapons (found in C.R.S. 18-12-105.6), state law provides that conveying such a weapon through or within the locality in a private vehicle is not an offense. As a result, transferring firearms in one’s automobile in time of emergency generally would not present a legal issue in Colorado.
Are There State of Emergency Exceptions?
Unlike many other states, Colorado has not created any “state of emergency” exceptions to the laws or private regulations governing transporting weapons via commercial or public transport, so such rules would still govern. Similarly, there are not specific “state of emergency” exceptions to the laws governing publicly carrying or using a firearm. In each case, however, a person charged with violating the firearm laws would have the ability to raise the usual affirmative defenses, including self-defense and the “choice of evils” defense (found in C.R.S. 18-1-702), which provides that otherwise criminal conduct is justifiable when it is necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent public or private injury which is about to occur; is not the fault of the actor; and is of sufficient gravity that the desirability and urgency of avoiding the injury clearly outweighs the desirability of avoiding the injury sought to be prevented by the statute defining the offense at issue.
If you have any questions regarding emergency preparedness and firearms, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.
ALERT: Make sure to check all state and local laws and reach out to your Independent Program Attorney as you prepare for emergency situations. Click here for the latest webinar discussion regarding travel restrictions during a pandemic with Sam Malone, featuring Independent Program Attorneys David Katz, James Reeves, Emily Taylor, and Richard Hayes.