As a gun owner, staying up-to-date on state laws regarding magazine capacity is crucial to staying legal when traveling across state lines. Colorado has restrictions on the possession, sale, and transfer of magazines holding over 15 rounds of ammunition. So what are the laws regarding transporting high-capacity magazines through the state of Colorado?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer: It is illegal to travel through Colorado with magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition under state law. Exceptions exist only for certain FFL firearm dealers and manufacturers.

This article will provide a thorough overview of the laws in Colorado concerning possession and transportation of high-capacity magazines. We will cover recent legislation, penalties for violations, exceptions, proper storage for travel, and tips for staying legal when traveling to, from, or through Colorado with firearms.

Colorado Law on High-Capacity Magazines

2013 Legislation

In 2013, Colorado passed legislation that placed restrictions on the possession and sale of high-capacity magazines. This legislation was prompted by the tragic shooting at the Aurora movie theater in 2012, where the shooter used a high-capacity magazine to carry out his attack.

The law prohibits the sale, transfer, and possession of magazines that can hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition.

Definition of ‘Large-Capacity’

Under Colorado law, a magazine is considered ‘large-capacity’ if it is designed to hold more than 15 rounds of ammunition. This definition applies to both detachable and fixed magazines. It’s important to note that the law does not apply to magazines that were legally owned prior to the enactment of the legislation.

However, individuals who possess these magazines are required to maintain continuous possession and cannot sell or transfer them to anyone else.

Penalties for Violations

Violating Colorado’s restrictions on high-capacity magazines can result in both criminal and civil penalties. Criminal penalties may include fines and imprisonment, while civil penalties can include forfeiture of the magazines and other firearms.

It’s essential for individuals to be aware of and comply with these laws to avoid legal consequences.

For more detailed information on Colorado’s law regarding high-capacity magazines, you can visit the official Colorado General Assembly website at

Exceptions to the Law

While Colorado has strict laws regarding high-capacity magazines, there are some exceptions that individuals should be aware of. These exceptions provide certain individuals with the ability to possess and travel with high-capacity magazines within the state.

FFL Dealers and Manufacturers

One exception to the law is for Federal Firearms License (FFL) dealers and manufacturers. These individuals are allowed to possess and sell high-capacity magazines to law enforcement agencies and individuals who are exempt from the law.

FFL dealers and manufacturers must follow strict guidelines and regulations when it comes to the sale and transfer of these magazines.

It’s important to note that FFL dealers and manufacturers must comply with federal regulations as well. They cannot sell high-capacity magazines that are prohibited by federal law.

Inherited Magazines

Another exception to the law pertains to inherited magazines. If an individual inherits a high-capacity magazine from a family member or loved one, they are allowed to possess and transport it within the state of Colorado. However, there are some stipulations that must be followed.

The individual must be legally allowed to possess a firearm in the first place. They must also have documentation proving the inheritance, such as a will or other legal documents. It’s important for individuals who inherit high-capacity magazines to familiarize themselves with the specific requirements and restrictions of the law.

It’s worth noting that these exceptions are subject to change and individuals should always consult with legal professionals or local law enforcement to ensure compliance with the current laws.

Proper Transport and Storage

When traveling through Colorado with high-capacity magazines, it is important to ensure that you are following the proper guidelines for transport and storage. This will help you stay in compliance with the law and ensure the safety of yourself and those around you.

Unloaded Firearms

Colorado law requires that firearms be transported in a manner that ensures they are unloaded. This means that the ammunition must be removed from the firearm and kept separate from the firearm itself. High-capacity magazines should be empty and stored separately from the firearm.

It is also important to note that the definition of an unloaded firearm in Colorado includes a firearm with a loaded magazine that is stored in a separate compartment from the firearm. This means that you cannot simply remove the magazine from the firearm and consider it unloaded.

The magazine must be stored separately.

Separation of Magazines and Guns

When transporting high-capacity magazines, they should be kept separate from the firearm. This means that they should not be inserted into the firearm or attached in any way. Instead, they should be stored in a separate container or compartment.

This helps to ensure that the firearm remains unloaded and that there is no possibility of accidental discharge.

It is recommended to use a dedicated case or bag for the magazines to keep them secure and prevent them from being damaged during transport. These cases can typically be found at sporting goods stores or online. Additionally, some gun cases come with built-in magazine storage compartments.

Locked Cases

One of the best ways to transport firearms and high-capacity magazines is in a locked case. This provides an added layer of security and helps prevent unauthorized access to the firearm and magazines. A locked case can be anything from a hard-sided gun case with combination locks or a lockable container specifically designed for firearms.

When using a locked case, it is important to ensure that the case is secured and the locks are engaged at all times. This will help prevent theft and unauthorized access to the firearm and magazines. Additionally, it is a good idea to keep the keys or combination to the locks on your person and not stored with the firearm or magazines.

Remember, it is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with Colorado’s specific laws and regulations regarding firearms and high-capacity magazines before traveling through the state. This will help ensure that you are in compliance with the law and can enjoy your trip without any legal issues.

Traveling To and From Colorado

Colorado is a popular destination for travelers due to its stunning natural beauty, outdoor recreational activities, and vibrant cities. However, it is essential to be aware of the laws and regulations regarding high-capacity magazines when traveling to and from the state.

Understanding these regulations will ensure a smooth and hassle-free journey.

Destinations Allowing High-Capacity Magazines

While Colorado has restrictions on high-capacity magazines, there are several nearby destinations where they are legal. For gun enthusiasts who want to travel with their high-capacity magazines, neighboring states like Wyoming, Kansas, and New Mexico allow their possession and use.

These states offer a variety of outdoor activities and attractions, making them great alternatives for travelers looking to enjoy their hobbies without any legal concerns.

It’s important to note that even when traveling to destinations where high-capacity magazines are legal, it is crucial to check the specific regulations of each state. Laws can vary, so it’s always best to stay informed and comply with the local regulations.

Alternate Routes Avoiding Colorado

For travelers who prefer to avoid any potential legal issues altogether, there are alternate routes available that can bypass Colorado. By taking alternate routes, you can reach your destination while avoiding any concerns about high-capacity magazines.

It’s a good idea to plan your journey in advance and map out alternative routes that steer clear of Colorado.

There are several online resources available that can help you plan your route, including Google Maps and other navigation apps. These tools can provide you with alternate routes that avoid Colorado and ensure a smooth and worry-free travel experience.

Tips for Staying Legal

Traveling through Colorado with high-capacity magazines can be a complex matter, as possession of these items may be subject to certain restrictions. To avoid any legal issues, it is crucial to be well-informed and prepared before embarking on your journey.

Here are some tips to help you stay on the right side of the law:

Research Laws along Your Route

Before you hit the road, take the time to research the specific laws and regulations regarding high-capacity magazines in each state you will be passing through. It is important to note that laws can vary significantly from state to state, so what may be legal in one state may be prohibited in another.

By familiarizing yourself with the laws along your route, you can ensure that you are in compliance and avoid any potential legal consequences.

Declare Firearms at Airports

If you plan to travel by air and will be carrying firearms and high-capacity magazines, it is crucial to declare them at the airport. Each airline and airport has its own procedures for transporting firearms, so it is essential to check the specific guidelines and requirements in advance.

By declaring your firearms and following the proper procedures, you can ensure a smoother travel experience and avoid any unnecessary complications.

Keep Guns Unloaded

Regardless of whether you are traveling by car, plane, or any other mode of transportation, it is generally recommended to keep your firearms and high-capacity magazines unloaded and securely stored during travel.

This not only helps ensure safety but can also help prevent any accidental legal violations. Additionally, it is advisable to store ammunition separately from firearms to further minimize any potential risks.

Remember, these tips are general guidelines, and it is always recommended to consult legal authorities or experts for the most up-to-date and accurate information regarding firearms laws and regulations.

By staying informed and taking the necessary precautions, you can enjoy your travel through Colorado with peace of mind and without any legal complications.


Colorado strictly prohibits the possession, sale, and transfer of ammunition magazines holding over 15 rounds. Transporting high-capacity magazines through the state, even if unloaded, puts gun owners at risk of legal penalties. Careful adherence to the law, proper firearm storage, and vigilant research of state statutes along your travel route will keep you in compliance.

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