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Colorado’s New Anti-Ghost Gun Law

Posted on 12/16/23

As legal landscapes continue to evolve, understanding modifications to Colorado Law is invaluable when facing criminal charges. One significant change pertains to “ghost guns.” According to recent legislation signed into effect by Gov. Jared Polis, the selling and possession of these weapons is strictly prohibited in the state.

Colorado's New Anti-Ghost Gun Law

What Exactly Are Ghost Guns?

Ghost guns are homemade firearms without any identifying serial numbers that can be used for tracing their origins. Creating or assembling one of these can take place essentially anywhere – like in someone’s home – making it incredibly challenging to track and regulate these weapons. These untraceable firearms pose an elevated threat to public safety.

The Concerns of Ghost Guns

What makes ghost guns notably concerning is their accessibility. Typically available for purchase through an online “buy, build, shoot” kit, virtually anyone can acquire and build these guns. They can even be created through 3D printing. 

This potentially attracts individuals who would not usually have legal access to firearms due to being underage or having prior prohibited offenses that result in failed background checks.

Purchasing Ghost Gun Kits and Parts Was Legal

Ghost gun kits have been making use of a legal loophole. Since they’re sold as disassembled components, the law failed to recognize them as firearms, meaning they didn’t need serial numbers and were not subjected to standard legal processes. Therefore, those who cannot purchase firearms could still obtain these kits without violating any laws – at least during the purchasing stage.

However, creating an untraceable firearm is unlawful. So, while purchasing and owning these parts was permitted, assembling them into a complete working firearm was against the law.

New Law Makes Unserialized Firearms and Firearm Parts Illegal

Colorado is taking a stand to enhance public safety; the new legislation declares that buying and possessing unserialized firearm parts – or those ‘ghost gun kits – is now illegal in the state.

“The act prohibits:

  • On and after January 1, 2024, knowingly possessing or transporting an unfinished firearm frame or receiver, unless it has been imprinted with a serial number as required by federal law;
  • Knowingly selling, offering to sell, transferring, or purchasing an unfinished firearm frame or receiver, unless it has been imprinted with a serial number as required by federal law;
  • On and after January 1, 2024, knowingly possessing, purchasing, transporting, or receiving a firearm or frame or receiver of a firearm that is not imprinted with a serial number;
  • Knowingly selling, offering to sell, or transferring a firearm or frame or receiver of a firearm that is not imprinted with a serial number; and
  • Manufacturing or causing to be manufactured a frame or receiver of a firearm; unless the manufacturer is a federally licensed firearm manufacturer.”

It’s essential to note that you can still make ghost guns, but you must go through the same background checks as if you were purchasing a completed firearm. 

Ghost Gun Charges and Penalties

If you are found in violation of Colorado’s newly implemented ban on ghost guns, the penalties can be severe. For a first-time offense, it’s categorized as a Class 1 misdemeanor which carries with it potential jail time of up to 364 days. 

However, for subsequent offenses, the consequences are harsher; it will be charged as a Class 5 felony and can result in imprisonment for up to three years. Our Colorado Springs criminal defense attorneys can help you understand your charges and navigate your legal options.

Those Who Already Own Ghost Guns Must Take Action

The newly passed law in Colorado gives individuals who currently own unserialized firearms a chance to rectify their position under the new regulation. These ghost gun owners are given until 2024 to add a legally recognized serial number to their weapons via a transaction with a licensed dealer.

Modifying the firearm to engrave a serial number on it will trigger formal procedures like background checks. This is more complicated than it seems, though, as many licensed dealers don’t want the liability of dealing with this situation.

Contact an Attorney For Help

Getting accurate legal advice is pivotal when navigating newly enforced legislative changes, such as those related to ghost guns in Colorado. If you have any questions or are currently facing weapons charges, contact our Colorado Springs gun charge attorneys as soon as possible to schedule a free consultation.