Breaking Down Colorado’s New Anti-Ghost Gun Law

Beginning January 1, 2024, every gun in Colorado must have a serial number. If you own a firearm that does not have a serial number, you can get it serialized by a licensed Colorado gun dealer.

Senate Bill 279, signed into law by Governor Jared Polis on June 2, 2023, closes a loophole that allowed people to own and purchase so-called “ghost guns,” which can be assembled at home. Ghost guns are unregistered and untraceable by law enforcement.

Recent shootings involving ghost guns in Colorado and across the nation have heightened awareness about the dangers posed by these firearms. According to the ATF, the use of ghost guns in crimes has risen 1000 percent since 2017.

What Is a Ghost Gun?

Breaking Down Colorado’s New Anti-Ghost Gun LawGun frames or receivers include essential components that allow a firearm to function, including the barrel and firing mechanism. Federal law requires gun manufacturers to put serial numbers on frames and receivers.

Although the law requires manufacturers to place serial numbers on firearms, the federal government doesn’t regulate most gun parts. This loophole makes it possible for people to own ghost guns, which can be assembled at home from kits or using a 3D-printed. These firearms don’t have a serial number.

Ghost guns make it possible for people to evade background checks when purchasing a firearm. They also prevent law enforcement officials from tracking a gun’s origins.

The new Colorado law includes the following provisions:

  • A mandatory three-day waiting period for all gun purchases
  • Raises the minimum age for buying guns from 18 to 21
  • Designates machine gun conversion devices as “dangerous weapon”
  • Prohibits knowingly possessing, selling, receiving, offering to sell, or transporting unfinished gun frames or receivers without a serial number
  • Prohibits knowingly selling, receiving, offering to sell, transferring, purchasing, or owning a firearm that is not imprinted with a serial number
  • Expands red flag laws that allow teachers, prosecutors, and medical professionals to petition a judge for the temporary seizure of someone’s firearms

Strict New Ghost Gun Penalties

Federal law prohibits dealers from selling firearms to felons and people deemed mentally unfit to own a gun. Colorado law restricts gun ownership for anyone convicted of a violent misdemeanor in the last five years, and court orders relating to domestic violence or a serious mental condition may also restrict gun rights.

Ghost guns allow people who would be legally unable to purchase a firearm to evade a background check. These devices generally cost around $500, but they may be purchased for less than $200.

Ghost guns were involved in the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs that resulted in five fatalities and the East High School shooting, where the shooter was 17 years old.

If you own a firearm that doesn’t have a serial number, you must get it serialized by a registered gun dealer no later than January 1, 2024. Dealers are required to run a background check before serializing a firearm.

Unlawful conduct involving an unsterilized firearm is a class 1 misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of up to 364 days in jail.

Subsequent offenses are a class 5 felony, carrying up to three years in jail.

The new law also prohibits the Colorado Bureau of Investigation from approving a firearm transfer to a person convicted of a misdemeanor for unlawful conduct involving an unserialized firearm, frame, or receiver in the last five years.

Protecting Your Rights in Colorado

The Bussey Law Firm, P.C. has been safeguarding the rights of Colorado citizens for over 25 years. Our Colorado Springs weapons violation attorneys will fight aggressively for your best interests. In fact, founding attorney Timothy Bussey prevailed in a landmark gun rights case he argued in front of the Colorado Supreme Court.

Timothy Bussey received a Gold Client Champion Award from Martindale-Hubbell and was featured in Super Lawyers Magazine. He is also recognized as a Fellow by the Litigation Counsel of America.

Call (719) 475-2555 to learn more today.