Know Your Ammo – Colorado

There are so many varieties of ammo on the market today, but not every type is perceived the same in the eyes of the law. Watch Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards explain how the type of ammo you use could affect you. 

Doug Richards: Hello, Doug Richards for U.S. LawShield of Colorado. I want to talk for a few minutes today about ammunition. Ammunition is regulated by Colorado and the federal government. On the federal side the only restriction is you cannot have armor piercing bullets and you cannot be in possession of ammunition if you’re a prohibited person. Such as somebody that has a prior felony conviction, a conviction for domestic violence, even a misdemeanor conviction of domestic violence. If you’ve been adjudicated for having some kind of mental defect or your addicted to drugs or alcohol. Those are just some of the things that would prohibit you from having a firearm or ammunition from the federal size.

On the state side in Colorado, the law doesn’t prohibit you from having any particular type of ammunition subject to the federal ban on armor-piercing bullets. What Colorado does restrict is the amount of ammunition you can have in the magazine in your firearm. As of July 1, 2013, Colorado changed the rules where you are no longer allowed to have an unlimited magazine. You can only have up to 15 rounds in your magazine. What you must do if you purchased a firearm after July 1, 2013, you cannot have a magazine that has over 15 rounds. If the magazine accepts over 15 rounds you must get rid of the magazine and purchase an aftermarket magazine that only accepts 15 rounds. If you had the magazine prior to July 1, 2013, then you would be grandfathered in.

Obviously, call my office if you have any questions on this. It can be kind of tricky to meander through the technical firearm statutes. Thank goodness you have U.S. LawShield as a membership and a resource and we would be happy to answer any of your questions.

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10 comments on “Know Your Ammo – Colorado

  1. Thank you for your video information. I have an 18 round magazine for my 9mm Beretta 92 FS shortly after I bought it in 1999. In your video you stated that magazine of larger capacities bought before July 1 2013 are grandfathered in. My question is this. How do I prove that I’m had these magazines for 18 yrs if it ever comes up.
    Thank you for your time and attention to my inquiry.
    John Schoenfeld

    • Hi John. Thank you for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Colorado.

      “Large capacity magazines manufactured in Colorado after July 1, 2013 must include a permanent stamp or marking indicating so. If a person is alleged to have violated Colorado’s large capacity magazine law, the prosecution bears the burden of proof to refute an assertion that the person is permitted to possess the magazine because he/she owned the magazine on July 1, 2013 and maintained continuous possession. Any record of sale or other evidence that you purchased, owned, and/or possessed the magazine would be helpful. However, as stated above, it is the prosecution’s burden to prove you obtained the large capacity magazine after July 1, 2013 and in violation of Colorado law.”

  2. I have a Glock 17 and it came with 3 magazines holding 17 rounds. I do not carry this firearm. I do have a CC licence. I only use this gun for competition . I carry a Bersa 380 thunder with the mags only holding 8 rounds.
    I want to know am I okay carrying this Glock 17 in my range bag on the way to the gun shooting competition if I get stopped for any reason having 17 rounds per mag in my bag.

    • Hi Carey. Thank you for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Colorado.

      “It depends on when you obtained the large capacity magazines. If you owned the magazines on July 1, 2013 and have maintained continuous possession, you are not in violation of Colorado law. It is illegal for you to possess those magazines if you obtained them after July 1, 2013.”

  3. Your comments on ammo type and quantity allowed in magazines was good. However I understand most CO law enforcement officers do not necessarily enforce that law. Another thing, it would be helpful if carrying across state lines a CCW holder knows the relative laws of those states and take the proper steps to make sure their fire arm is not out of limits. I carry a Glock 19 with 15 round mags plus on in the chamber. How would that stack up if I crossed into a 10 round limit state? Even if I short load the magazines, they are still 15 round magazines. Could I be in trouble? To answer my own question, I could buy 10 round magazines and carry more spares.

    • Hi John. Thank you for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Colorado.

      “Your instinct to purchase magazines that comply with the capacity laws for the state you are traveling to is correct. Colorado magazine capacity laws apply only to Colorado. Other states can implement their own laws and there is no reciprocity for magazine capacity between states.”

  4. What about magazines with a capacity greater than 15 that were purchased before (or even after) 7/1/2013 but the owner moved to Colorado after 7/1/2013?

    • Thank you for your question. Please see the below response from one of our Independent Program Attorneys in Colorado.

      “Possession of a magazine that carries more than 15 rounds that was purchased after July 1, 2013 is unlawful regardless of whether the person resided in Colorado at that time. It is not unlawful if the person purchased and maintained continuous possession of the magazine prior to that date. The date when the person moved to Colorado does not affect the legality of possessing a high capacity magazine. The date of possession and maintaining continuous possession is what matters.”

  5. What if you are a visitor to Colorado? I am planning a trip for this weekend and I carry a sig 229 with 2 18 round mags. I have a Pennsylvania ccw permit and I would prefer to bring the firearm I train with and carry everyday. I can’t seem to find any information on out of state visitors online anywhere. I don’t have any 15 round mags and would prefer not running out last second and searching for a gun store that has some in stock. (My local gun shop does not carry any 15 rounders)

    • Ben,

      Unfortunately, there is no visitor exception to the large-capacity magazine ban in Colorado.

      Thank you for your question!

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