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You came here from.... > Knives LAWS & REGULATIONS > Colorado
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Updated 12/16/2005

Colorado - Criminal Code Section 18-12-101. Definitions...
   (e) "Gravity knife" means any knife that has a blade
   released from the handle or sheath thereof by the force of
   gravity or the application of centrifugal force, that when
   released is locked into place by means of a button,
   spring, lever, or other device... (f) "Knife" means any
   dagger, dirk, knife, or stiletto with a blade over 3-1/2
   inches in length, or any other dangerous instrument
   capable of inflicting cutting, stabbing, or tearing
   wounds, but does not include a hunting or fishing knife
   carried for sports use. The issue that a knife is a
   hunting or fishing knife must be raised as an affirmative
   defense. (j) "Switchblade knife" means any knife, the
   blade of which opens automatically by hand pressure
   applied to a button, spring, or other device in its
   handle... (a.3) "Ballistic knife" means any knife that has
   a blade which is forcefully projected from the handle by
   means of a spring-loaded device or explosive charge.


- 18-12-102. Possessing a dangerous or illegal weapon - affirmative defense.
  (1) As used in this section, the term "dangerous weapon" means a firearm silencer, machine gun, short shotgun, short rifle, or ballistic knife.
  (2) As used in this section, the term "illegal weapon" means a blackjack, gas gun, metallic knuckles, gravity knife, or switchblade knife.
  (3) A person who knowingly possesses a dangerous weapon commits a class 5 felony. Each subsequent violation of this subsection (3) by the same person shall be a class 4 felony.
  (4) A person who knowingly possesses an illegal weapon commits a class 1 misdemeanor.
  (5) It shall be an affirmative defense to the charge of possessing a dangerous weapon, or to the charge of possessing an illegal weapon, that the person so accused was a peace officer or member of the armed forces of the United States or Colorado National Guard acting in the lawful discharge of his duties, or that said person has a valid permit and license for possession of such weapon.

- 18-12-105. Unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon - unlawful possession of weapons.

  (1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if such person knowingly and unlawfully:
    (a) Carries a knife concealed on or about his or her person; or
    (b) Carries a firearm concealed on or about his or her person; or
    (c) Without legal authority, carries, brings, or has in such person's possession a firearm or any explosive, incendiary, or other dangerous device on the property of or within any building in which the chambers, galleries, or offices of the general assembly, or either house thereof, are located, or in which a legislative hearing or meeting is being or is to be conducted, or in which the official office of any member, officer, or employee of the general assembly is located.
    (d) (Deleted 1993.)
  (2) It shall not be an offense if the defendant was:
    (a) A person in his or her own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under his or her control at the time of the act of carrying; or
    (b) A person in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance who carries a weapon for lawful protection of such person's or another's person or property while traveling; or
    (c) A person who, at the time of carrying a concealed weapon, held a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, as it existed prior to its repeal, or, if the weapon involved was a handgun, held a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214; or
    (d) A peace officer, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency as provided in section 16-2.5-101 (2), C.R.S.; or
    (e) (Deleted 2003.)
    (f) A United States probation officer or a United States pretrial services officer while on duty and serving in the state of Colorado under the authority of rules and regulations promulgated by the judicial conference of the United States.


- 18-12-105.5. Unlawfully carrying a weapon - unlawful possession of weapons - school, college, or university grounds.

  (1) A person commits a class 6 felony if such person knowingly and unlawfully and without legal authority carries, brings, or has in such person's possession a deadly weapon as defined in section 18-1-901 (3) (e) in or on the real estate and all improvements erected thereon of any public or private elementary, middle, junior high, high, or vocational school or any public or private college, university, or seminary, except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class, for the purpose of carrying out the necessary duties and functions of an employee of an educational institution that require the use of a deadly weapon, or for the purpose of participation in an authorized extracurricular activity or on an athletic team.
  (2) (Deleted 2000.)
  (3) It shall not be an offense under this section if:
    (a) The weapon is unloaded and remains inside a motor vehicle while upon the real estate of any public or private college, university, or seminary; or
    (b) The person is in that person's own dwelling or place of business or on property owned or under that person's control at the time of the act of carrying; or
    (c) The person is in a private automobile or other private means of conveyance and is carrying a weapon for lawful protection of that person's or another's person or property while traveling; or
    (d) The person, at the time of carrying a concealed weapon, held a valid written permit to carry a concealed weapon issued pursuant to section 18-12-105.1, as said section existed prior to its repeal; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or
    (d.5) The weapon involved was a handgun and the person held a valid permit to carry a concealed handgun or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article; except that it shall be an offense under this section if the person was carrying a concealed handgun in violation of the provisions of section 18-12-214 (3); or
    (e) The person is a peace officer, as described in section 16-2.5-101, C.R.S., when carrying a weapon in conformance with the policy of the employing agency as provided in section 16-2.5-101 (2), C.R.S.; or
    (f) and (g) (Deleted 2003.)
    (h) The person has possession of the weapon for use in an educational program approved by a school which program includes, but shall not be limited to, any course designed for the repair or maintenance of weapons.




- 18-12-106. Prohibited use of weapons.

  (1) A person commits a class 2 misdemeanor if:
    (a) He knowingly and unlawfully aims a firearm at another person; or
    (b) Recklessly or with criminal negligence he discharges a firearm or shoots a bow and arrow; or
    (c) He knowingly sets a loaded gun, trap, or device designed to cause an explosion upon being tripped or approached, and leaves it unattended by a competent person immediately present; or
    (d) The person has in his or her possession a firearm while the person is under the influence of intoxicating liquor or of a controlled substance, as defined in section 12-22-303 (7), C.R.S. Possession of a permit issued under section 18-12-105.1, as it existed prior to its repeal, or possession of a permit or a temporary emergency permit issued pursuant to part 2 of this article is no defense to a violation of this subsection (1).
    (e) He knowingly aims, swings, or throws a throwing star or nunchaku as defined in this paragraph (e) at another person, or he knowingly possesses a throwing star or nunchaku in a public place except for the purpose of presenting an authorized public demonstration or exhibition or pursuant to instruction in conjunction with an organized school or class. When transporting throwing stars or nunchaku for a public demonstration or exhibition or for a school or class, they shall be transported in a closed, nonaccessible container. For purposes of this paragraph (e), "nunchaku" means an instrument consisting of two sticks, clubs, bars, or rods to be used as handles, connected by a rope, cord, wire, or chain, which is in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense, and "throwing star" means a disk having sharp radiating points or any disk-shaped bladed object which is hand-held and thrown and which is in the design of a weapon used in connection with the practice of a system of self-defense.



- 18-12-108. Possession of weapons by previous offenders [part].

  (1) A person commits the crime of possession of a weapon by a previous offender if the person knowingly possesses, uses, or carries upon his or her person a firearm as described in section 18-1-901 (3) (h) or any other weapon that is subject to the provisions of this article subsequent to the person's conviction for a felony, or subsequent to the person's conviction for attempt or conspiracy to commit a felony, under Colorado or any other state's law or under federal law.
  (2) (a) Except as otherwise provided by paragraphs (b) and (c) of this subsection (2), a person commits a class 6 felony if the person violates subsection (1) of this section.
      (b) A person commits a class 5 felony, as provided by section 18-12-102, if the person violates subsection (1) of this section and the weapon is a dangerous weapon, as defined in section 18-12-102 (1)...






  Colorado Case Law:

18-12-101

Definition of "knife" in subsection (1)(f) is not void for vagueness or overbreadth. Where defendant possessed a screwdriver with specific intent to use it as a weapon, elements of crime defined in 18-12-108 were present. People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 933 (Colo. 1992).

Defendant's intent to use an object as a weapon is not established by the object's appearance alone, even if the appearance demonstrates that its primary use is as a weapon; this test does not follow Gross and is contrary to the plain language of the concealed weapons statute. A.P.E. v. People, 20 P.3d 1179 (Colo. 2001).

The definition of "knife" in subsection (1)(f) is sufficiently specific to give fair warning of the proscribed conduct and is therefore constitutional. In applying the definition under 18-12-108, the prosecution must prove that one of the intended uses of the instrument by the defendant was as a weapon. People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 933 (Colo. 1992).

As the term "knife" is not specifically defined in the deadly weapons statute, the meaning of "knife" anywhere it is used in this article is specifically limited by the definition contained in subsection (1)(f) regardless of cross reference to the broader deadly weapons statute. People ex rel. J.W.T., 93 P.3d 580 (Colo. App. 2004).

Applied in Miller v. District Court, 193 Colo. 404, 566 P.2d 1063 (1977).



18-12-102

Cross references: For affirmative defenses generally, see 18-1-407, 18-1-710, and 18-1-805.

Annotations

Am. Jur.2d. See 79 Am. Jur.2d, Weapons and Firearms, 4-8, 28.

C.J.S. See 94 C.J.S., Weapons, 3-10.

Law reviews. For article, "Mens Rea and the Colorado Criminal Code", see 52 U. Colo. L. Rev. 167 (1981). For article, "Pronouncements of the U.S. Supreme Court Relating to the Criminal Law Field: 1985-1986", which discusses a case relating to unloaded guns as dangerous weapons, see 15 Colo. Law. 1612 (1986).

The prohibition against possession of illegal weapons in subsection (4) is neither facially void for vagueness as to the prohibition of possession of "metallic knuckles", nor unconstitutionally vague as applied to the defendant. People ex rel. A.P.E., 988 P.2d 172 (Colo. App. 1999), rev'd on other grounds, 20 P.3d 1179 (Colo. 2001).

Possession of an illegal weapon under subsection (4) is a lesser included offense of possession of weapon by a previous offender under 18-12-108 (1) when the same weapon is alleged in each charge. People v. Brown, __ P.3d __ (Colo. App. 2004).

Whether inoperable weapon is a dangerous one is question of fact. When a prosecution under this section involves a weapon that is inoperable for some reason, whether the weapon is a dangerous one is a question of fact. In considering this question, the trier of fact must weigh a variety of factors, including the time required, the changes that have to be made in the weapon, the parts which have to be inserted, and all the other attendant factors and circumstances. People v. Vigil, 758 P.2d 670 (Colo. 1988).

Defendant could not be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without the prosecution proving that defendant intended to use this short-bladed knife as a weapon. While the characteristics of an instrument may be an important factor in determining the intended purpose of an instrument, the language of the concealed weapons statute and established precedent establishes that a knife's design does not, by itself, prove that the person carrying it intended to use it as a weapon. A.P.E. v. People, 20 P.3d 1179 (Colo. 2001).

Applied in People v. Taylor, 647 P.2d 682 (Colo. 1982).




18-12-105

Am. Jur.2d. See 79 Am. Jur.2d, Weapons and Firearms, 12-14, 16.

C.J.S. See 94 C.J.S., Weapons, 9, 10.

Recognition of 13 of art. II, Colo. Const. Section 13 of art. II, Colo. Const., has limiting language dealing with defense of home, person, and property. These limitations have been recognized by the general assembly in the enactment of this section, which restricts the right to bear arms in certain circumstances, while permitting in other circumstances the carrying of a concealed weapon in defense of home, person, and property, and also when specifically authorized by written permit. People v. Blue, 190 Colo. 95, 544 P.2d 385 (1975).

The words "about the person" means sufficiently close to the person to be readily accessible for immediate use. People in Interest of R.J.A., 38 Colo. App. 346, 556 P.2d 491 (1976).

The scope of subsection (2)(b) is clarified in 18-12-105.6, which indicates the general assembly's intent that local ordinances on carrying weapons in private vehicles be preempted only insofar as they conflict with the provisions of 18-12-105.6. Trinen v. City & County of Denver, 53 P.3d 754 (Colo. App. 2002).

The local ordinance concerning carrying a weapon in a private vehicle is not preempted since it can be harmonized with subsection (2)(b). Trinen v. City & County of Denver, 53 P.3d 754 (Colo. App. 2002).

Pistol tucked under edge of car seat. Where uncontested evidence established that pistol was tucked under the edge of a car seat on which petitioner was sitting, where it was within his easy reach, these circumstances constitute carrying a "firearm concealed on or about his person". People in Interest of R.J.A., 38 Colo. App. 346, 556 P.2d 491 (1976).

Question of whether weapon is concealed is question of fact for the jury which should not be summarily determined by the trial judge at the time that he rules on the defendant's motion to suppress. People v. Vincent, 628 P.2d 107 (Colo. 1981).

Former subsection (2)(c) did not confer power to issue permits for carrying concealed weapons to police chiefs and sheriffs. Douglass v. Kelton, 199 Colo. 446, 610 P.2d 1067 (1980).

Person receiving permit to carry concealed weapon cannot be convicted. Once a person receives a permit to carry a concealed weapon in a county or city, he may not be convicted under subsection (2)(c). Douglass v. Kelton, 199 Colo. 446, 610 P.2d 1067 (1980).

Statute as basis for jurisdiction. See People v. Pickett, 194 Colo. 178, 571 P.2d 1078 (1977).

Defendant could not be convicted of carrying a concealed weapon without the prosecution proving that defendant intended to use this short-bladed knife as a weapon. While the characteristics of an instrument may be an important factor in determining the intended purpose of an instrument, the language of the concealed weapons statute and established precedent establishes that a knife's design does not, by itself, prove that the person carrying it intended to use it as a weapon. A.P.E. v. People, 20 P.3d 1179 (Colo. 2001).

Applied in People v. Velasquez, 641 P.2d 943 (Colo. 1982); People v. Deschamp, 662 P.2d 171 (Colo. 1983).




18-12-105.5

Unless the prosecution can also establish that the person used or intended to use the knife as a weapon, a person cannot be prosecuted under subsection (1) for carrying a knife with a blade less than three and one-half inches in length on school grounds. Even though subsection (1) references the deadly weapons statute, that statute does not specifically define "knife". The term "knife" is, however, specifically limited to a weapon with a blade longer than three and one-half inches in length by 18-12-101 (1), as applicable to this article. Thus, reading and harmonizing these provisions together, the plain language of both provisions establishes that, for purposes of this section, where the deadly weapon is a knife, it must qualify as a knife under 18-12-101 (1)(f). People ex rel. J.W.T., 93 P.3d 580 (Colo. App. 2004).




18-12-106

Am. Jur.2d. See 79 Am. Jur.2d, Weapons and Firearms, 30.

C.J.S. See 94 C.J.S., Weapons, 37, 43.

This section is neither unconstitutionally overbroad nor unconstitutionally vague. People v. Garcia, 197 Colo. 550, 595 P.2d 228 (1979).

Right to bear arms is not absolute, and it can be restricted by the state's valid exercise of its police power. People v. Garcia, 197 Colo. 550, 595 P.2d 228 (1979).

Common sense definition of "possession", as it is used in subsection (1)(d) is the actual or physical control of a firearm. People v. Garcia, 197 Colo. 550, 595 P.2d 228 (1979).

Failure to define "under the influence of intoxicating liquor", if error, was harmless, where defendant, charged with violation of this section, testified that he was too drunk to drive. People v. Beckett, 782 P.2d 812 (Colo. App. 1989), aff'd, 800 P.2d 74 (Colo. 1990).

Possession of a firearm while intoxicated is a strict liability offense, therefore, the trial court did not err in refusing to instruct the jury that "knowingly" was an element of the offense. People v. Wilson, 972 P.2d 701 (Colo. App. 1998).

Self defense is not a valid defense to the crime of prohibited use of weapons. People v. Beckett, 782 P.2d 812 (Colo. App. 1989), aff'd, 800 P.2d 74 (Colo. 1990).

Applied in People v. McPherson, 200 Colo. 429, 619 P.2d 38 (1980).





18-12-108 [part]

Affirmative defense under section 13, art. II, Colo. Const. A defendant charged under this section who presents competent evidence showing that his purpose in possessing weapons was the defense of his home, person, and property as recognized by section 13 of art. II, Colo. Const., thereby raises an affirmative defense. People v. Ford, 193 Colo. 459, 568 P.2d 26 (1977).

Purpose in keeping weapons is question of fact which must be submitted to jury. The question of the defendant's purpose in keeping the weapons in order to establish the affirmative defense based on his constitutional right to keep and bear arms under section 13 of art. II, Colo. Const. is one for the fact finder to determine at trial. People v. Ford, 193 Colo. 459, 568 P.2d 26 (1977).

But burden of proof is still on prosecution. After the defendant by competent evidence has raised the affirmative defense under section 13 of art. II, Colo. Const., the prosecution will still have the overall burden of proving its case. People v. Ford, 193 Colo. 459, 568 P.2d 26 (1977).

Trial court properly excluded affirmative defense based on section 13 of article II, Colo. Const., and a proposed jury instruction where the defendant's offer of proof was insufficient to support the proposed affirmative defense. People v. Barger, 732 P.2d 1225 (Colo. App. 1986).

Trial court's instruction to jury that second degree assault involved force or violence as a matter of law was proper for conviction under this statute notwithstanding fact that second degree assault could involve injury to another resulting from the administration of drug or other substance. People v. Allaire, 843 P.2d 38 (Colo. App. 1992).

Jury must find "knowing" possession to convict. To convict a previous offender of possessing a weapon, the jury must find, not mere possession, but that the defendant "knowingly" possessed the weapon and that he understood that the object possessed was a weapon. People v. Tenorio, 197 Colo. 137, 590 P.2d 952 (1979).

To convict under this section, the prosecution must prove that one of the defendant's intended uses for the instrument was as a weapon. As so construed, the section is not overbroad. People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 933 (Colo. 1992).

This section is not void for vagueness in regard to the definitions of weapon cited therein. "Weapon" has a commonly understood meaning and the definition of "knife" cited in this section is sufficiently specific to give fair warning of the proscribed conduct. People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 933 (Colo. 1992).

Broad definition of "knife", incorporated into this section by reference to 18-12-101, is constitutional. Where defendant possessed a screwdriver with specific intent to use it as a weapon, elements of crime were present. But this section does not prohibit possession of such an instrument for an innocent purpose, so prohibition is neither unconstitutionally vague nor overbroad. People v. Gross, 830 P.2d 933 (Colo. 1992).




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