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The Restaurant Has a Bar. Can I Carry? Colorado

Spring Break is here, and everyone is thawing out after a long winter. Watch Independent Program Attorney Doug Richards instruct you on the law before walking into a restaurant or bar with your firearm.

Can You Conceal Carry in Colorado?

In Colorado, you can go into a bar with a firearm concealed so long as there’s not signage that specifically prohibits it, or you’re told by somebody that works there that no guns are allowed. Once you’re inside the bar, if you consume any alcohol, you run the risk of committing a crime by possessing a firearm while you’re intoxicated. Now, you might think, well if I have one beer, or one shot, or whatever it might be, I’m not intoxicated because I’m not a .08, or I’m not a .05. You’d be mistaken because you’re right now thinking about the legal standard for driving, not the legal standard for possessing a firearm. There is no actual per se or statutory legal standard, so it’s a totally subjective standard, i.e. it is up to the police officer on whether or not you are intoxicated. So, if you’re using bad judgment and you’ve got some alcohol on your breath, I can promise you the police officer is going to say you’re intoxicated, and you’re going to be facing a criminal charge for doing something you really shouldn’t be doing in the first place.

 

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8 comments on “The Restaurant Has a Bar. Can I Carry? Colorado

    So correct me if I’m wrong but I am fairly certain that if an establishment had a sign that says no firearms you are still allowed to carry there. The only places you can’t carry is federal buildings and schools. So if they have a sign that says no firearms you can carry and if they somehow found out you had one they can ask you to leave. At that point if you don’t leave you’re trespassing but there is no charge for carry in an establishment that just has a sign that says no firearms. Also don’t drink any alcohol if you’re carry it’s just asking for trouble.

    It was my understanding that the only places you can’t conceal carry are federal buildings and places with metal detectors. Even if a building has a notice that firearms are not permitted it is not valid in the eyes of the law. Is that true?

      “No gun signs” do not carry the force of law in Colorado. In other words, there is not a specific criminal statute that states it is unlawful for a person to carry on premises with posted no gun signs. However, by placing a sign on a building stating guns are not allowed, the private owner is putting people who enter their establishment on notice of his/her policy that firearms are prohibited. By disregarding the sign and carrying a firearm on the property, you are trespassing and may be arrested and/or charged under that statute. Further, under these circumstances, a person with a valid conceal firearm permit, could be considered to be unlawfully in possession of a concealed firearm, an additional criminal charge.

        Thanks you for clarifying that. I took my ccw class through equip 2 conceal and they taught us that law differently. I will have to contact them and make sure they are teaching that correctly. It would be a real bummer to get in trouble from being taught wrong. Thanks again!

          Yes, the active LEOs who taught my class stated that it wasn’t trespassing unless one refused to leave after being asked. The sign alone wasn’t sufficient. However I can well imagine that in some jurisdictions such as Denver they might charge you regardless.

    This is confusing. I thought that signs prohibiting weapons at a business didn’t have the force of law in Colorado. Is it different for a bar?

      You are correct “no gun signs” do not carry the force of law in Colorado. In other words, there is not a specific criminal statute that states it is unlawful for a person to carry on premises with posted no gun signs. However, by placing a sign on a building stating guns are not allowed, the private owner is putting people who enter their establishment on notice of his/her policy that firearms are prohibited. By disregarding the sign and carrying a firearm on the property, you are trespassing and may be arrested and/or charged under that statute. Further, under these circumstances, a person with a valid conceal firearm permit, could be considered to be unlawfully in possession of a concealed firearm, an additional criminal charge.

    Instead of splitting hairs and wrangling exact terminology, perhaps we could rely on common sense.
    Whether it’s technically legal to carry concealed in a posted bar, it just doesn’t make sense.
    Either (a) you don’t use the gun, in which case it wasn’t needed, or (b) you do use the gun, and you’ll be sued out of your underwear.
    Even if you’re not charged with a crime, can you imagine the lawsuit? You’ll be sitting in front of a jury who is told you went into a bar that posted a sign saying concealed carry wasn’t allowed.
    Then something bad happened, because you disregarded the bar’s policy.
    You tell the jury, “But technically, I could still carry…”
    You’ll be lucky if you own anything at the end of that day.

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