When Church and State Collide: Can You Carry In a Colorado Dual Purpose Facility?

The following is a video transcript.

Assuming one has a Colorado Concealed Handgun Permit, state law authorizes the holder to carry a concealed handgun in all areas of the state, except as specifically limited in the statute. As one of the exceptions to that statute, a permit holder generally is not authorized to carry a handgun onto the real property or into any improvements erected thereon, of a public elementary, middle, junior high, or high school; although pursuant to state statute, a permit holder can drive onto the parking lot of a school and leave their handgun in a locked vehicle.

The statute does not limit, restrict, or prohibit in any manner the existing rights of a private property owner, private tenant, private employer, or private business entity, meaning that such private entities are free to prohibit weapons from their premises. So, a private educational center or a house of worship is allowed to set its own rules regarding concealed carry. Unless an entity has a rule to the contrary, a permit holder may carry.

DUAL PURPOSE FACILITIES

A Sunday school or private school attached to a house of worship similarly would not fall under the “public schools” exception, and would be free to set its own concealed carry rules, provided it is not held on the property of a public school. The Colorado courts have not yet addressed the statute in the context of a public school hosting a house of worship or Sunday school. However, in such instances, the property would likely be deemed to be the real property of a public school, irrespective of the use of the building at any given moment, such that carrying onto such property would likely be a violation.

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If you have any questions about this or anything else, please call U.S. LawShield and ask to speak with your Independent Program Attorney. I am always happy to talk to U.S. LawShield members.

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