What do you do if you are about to enter a business and notice a sign that says something to the effect, “Guns Not Welcome Here?”
Is your CCW no longer valid in that location?
Can your Colorado Concealed Carry Permit be taken away if you don’t happen to see the sign?
Does that sign written on a paper towel carry the weight of the law?
So, what if you choose to ignore the sign, or, because of where and how it is placed, missed it altogether? Are you in danger of legal problems if you carry concealed in that business?
The short answer is, yes, you are in danger of legal problems. But, as expected when dealing with the law, the long answer gets more complicated.
First, there are no clearly defined Colorado laws that focus on the legality of signs notifying customers that firearms are not welcome.
This is where things get tricky. Since there is no Colorado law that specifically states it is a crime to ignore a business’s “No Guns Allowed” sign, an unwanted armed citizen could, technically, be brought up on charges of trespassing.
Trespass is a crime committed when one person enters the property of another person uninvited and unwanted. Normally, this is pretty cut and dry. In the case of a private residence, it is assumed you are uninvited and unwanted on the property unless there is permission granted by the owner.
But the rules are different for businesses. You don’t need express permission to be there.
Since it’s assumed a Colorado business wants you on their property in order to spend money, the law doesn’t require permission to be gained before walking through the door.
However, if the business does not support the Second Amendment, and your gun comes to the attention of the owner or someone granted the authority, you may be asked to leave the premises.
Failing to leave after being asked means risking a 3rd degree criminal trespass charge.
According to Timothy J. Priebe, an attorney licensed to practice law in both Colorado and California,
“If you are found guilty of a third-degree trespass, you have committed a class 1 petty offense. This is below a level of a misdemeanor crime. However, with any criminal charge there is a chance that you will lose your firearm in the process.” (Handgunlaw.us)
So, can you lose your CCW permit if you fail to pay attention to a sign? No, it doesn’t appear so. But you could lose your gun and risking the hassle of a trespass charge should encourage us to vote with our wallets and take our business elsewhere.
Note: This is article is not intended to be taken as legal advice, but a warning of the possible problems associated with carrying a firearm on the property of a business that doesn’t allow it. Please talk with a qualified attorney for proper legal direction.