With the upcoming election, we at U.S. Law Shield thought it important to remind our members as to the laws in their state regarding firearms at polling places. We turned to U.S. Law Shield of Colorado Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards for his input.
Here is what Richards has to say:
“Colorado has no specific statutes prohibiting firearms in polling places, although administrative regulations may apply.
“While you may be permitted to carry your firearm, you may only do so in a place not otherwise prohibited by state or local law, such as:
1) On any real property or improvements of any public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school (though firearms may be kept in a locked motor vehicle, loaded if you have a CHP, or unloaded if you do not);
2) In any public building in which security personnel and electronic weapons screening devices are permanently installed; and
3) Any private property where not allowed by owner, tenant, employer, or business entity.
“If your polling place is in one of these restricted areas, leave your gun behind.
“Colorado allows handguns and long guns to be legally carried openly without a permit, though local governments may enact regulations prohibiting open carrying into a building or specific area within the local government’s jurisdiction, as long as signs are posted to that effect.
“Open carrying at polling places has the strong likelihood of raising the competing concerns regarding a citizen’s right to keep and bear arms, guaranteed by the Second Amendment, and an interest in preventing voter intimidation.
“Colorado prohibits voter intimidation by statute, making it ‘unlawful for any person directly or indirectly, by himself or by any other person in his behalf, to impede, prevent, or otherwise interfere with the free exercise of the elective franchise of any elector or to compel, induce, or prevail upon any elector either to give or refrain from giving his vote at any election provided by law or to give or refrain from giving his vote for any particular person or measure at any such election’ (C.R.S. 1-13-713).
“While we are not aware of any major, publicized report of voter intimidation with the aid of a firearm in Colorado you do not want to be the first.
“Due to the already heated nature of this election and the strong opinions that have been expressed along the campaign trail, I strongly recommend against open carry within a polling location.”