Background Checks Required in Colorado for Private Transfers

On July 1st 2013 18-12-112 went into effect. This law restricts the private transfer of firearms in Colorado without a background check. So to be it quickly…

Before this law went into effect if I wanted to buy your gun we would just meet in a parking lot somewhere and I would hand you the cash and you would had me the gun. Most of us were wise enough to get a bill of sale and follow other good “private sale advice” but it was legal regardless.

Now, after this law going into effect, if I want to buy your gun we must do the transaction with someone who has a FFL (Federal Firearm License). This generally would mean going to a retail gun store. The FFL would perform the required background check on the buyer. The buyer will pay the new state fee ( and a fee to the FFL for their time. If the buyer passes the check then they can pay the seller and the transaction is completed.

I’m not aware of any court cases in Colorado so far that have involved this new law. There is great concern about how it may be interpreted and how it might be enforced. Only time will tell.


  1. Rory on August 20, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Dear CCW of Colorado,
    I’m a little confused by what I am reading on the internet concerning the private exchange of firearms in Colorado.

    I want to purchase a couple of my father’s handguns but I want to do so legally. Can I receive firearms from a family member, whether as a gift or by purchase, in Colorado legally, without going through a FFL?

    Thanks for your reply.

    • admin on August 20, 2015 at 7:06 pm

      Rory, Yes you can. Most transfers, including gifts, do require a background check from a FFL. However, transfer from parents to children do not require a background check.

      Hope that helps!


  2. John on September 27, 2016 at 10:47 am

    So how would the law be applied if the owner of the Handgun sold it to someone in another state? With the weapon ownership being transferred in the other state, not Colorado.

    • Jacob Paulsen on September 27, 2016 at 10:49 am

      John, great question. We don’t know for sure since there is no case law on the topic but the way I read the law I would assume that if the recipient is in a different state, the laws of that state would apply and this law in Colorado would NOT.

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