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Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law – A Dangerous Combination Section 18-12-108.5

By H. Michael Steinberg Colorado Juvenile Crimes Criminal Defense Lawyer – Attorney

Colorado has always been a very pro-gun state - but about 25 years ago, the Colorado state legislature acted to stop, what was at that time, an epidemic of gun violence involving juveniles.Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law – A Dangerous Combination – Section 18-12-108.5 – Colorado has always been a very pro-gun state – but – about 25 years ago things were very different At that time the Colorado state legislature acted to stop, what was at that time, an epidemic of gun violence involving juveniles. considered to be an epidemic of juvenile gun related crime.

A Special Session of the Colorado State legislature in September 1993 adopted several new laws prohibiting the possession of handguns by juveniles. One of those laws was called the “presumption statute.”

The Colorado juvenile “presumption of dangerousness statute.” Section 19-2-204(3)(a)(III), provides that a juvenile is presumed dangerous to himself or herself or the community and therefore may be ordered by a judicial officer to be detained if the juvenile is alleged, among other sections of the law:

“to have possessed a handgun in violation of the handgun statute.”

Put a little differently, a “presumption statute” in this kind of case is a “status” offense which:

…establishes a presumption that ANY juvenile alleged to have committed one of several enumerated offenses will be presumed to be a danger to himself or herself or the community, warranting further detention.

In Colorado, if and when a juvenile (under 18) is arrested for possession of a handgun, they are immediately arrested and taken into custody. A detention hearing within 48 hours follows at which the child is presumed to be a danger to themselves and – or others.

The “handgun statute” is the subject of this article. It is found in Colorado Section 18-12-108.5 and it prohibits any person younger than eighteen years of age from knowingly possessing a handgun. Section 18-12-108.5(1)(a).

Here are the possible penalties for this crime:

1st Conviction for Possession of a Handgun by a Juvenile

Class 2 Misdemeanor, 3-12 months in a County Juvenile Detention Center.

2nd or Subsequent Conviction For Possession of a Handgun by a Juvenile

Class 5 Felony,  1-3 years in the Colorado Department of Youth Corrections

Most crimes are prosecuted under the jurisdictional limitations in Colorado Juvenile Court which has the inherent power to “adjudicate” certain juveniles as “delinquents.” However the Colorado General Assembly created a different sentencing scheme for its judicial proceedings concerning juveniles who are in the possession of handguns.

The Colorado “handgun statute” and the “presumption statute” constitutes an exercise of the state legislature’s authority to create special categories of juvenile offenders outside of the juvenile code.

The Colorado offense of possession of a handgun by a juvenile is a “status” offense which is an offense consisting of conduct that would not constitute an offense if engaged in by an adult.

Notwithstanding This Law – There Are Major Exceptions That Can Be Used To Defend Against The Charge Of Possession Of A Weapon By A Juvenile

Colorado remains a strong pro-firearm state and that policy is reflected in the exceptions that are stated right in the law:

A juvenile can possess a handgun when:

1. The juvenile is practicing at a shooting range or another location where the discharge of firearms is not prohibited

2. The juvenile is on the property of his or her parents and the parents are aware of the handgun;

3. The juvenile is hunting legally;

4. The juvenile is attending a firearm or hunter safety course.

5. The juvenile is defending himself or herself with a handgun against an intruder (self-defense).

A handgun means: (18-12-101):

“A pistol, revolver, or other firearm of any description, loaded or unloaded, from which any shot, bullet, or other missile can be discharged, the length of the barrel of which, not including any revolving, detachable, or magazine breech, does not exceed twelve inches.”

Firearm Rights If Convicted Under This Law

What most individuals and families do NOT realize, if convicted of this felony, a child, who later grows up, will LOSE their right to bear firearms for the rest of their life.

Here is the Colorado Possession of Handguns by Juveniles – 18-12-108.5 Law

Colorado Possession of Handguns by Juveniles – Prohibited – Exceptions – Penalty: C.R.S. 18-12-108.5

(1) (a) Except as provided in this section, it is unlawful for any person who has not attained the age of eighteen years knowingly to have any handgun in such person’s possession.

(b) Any person possessing any handgun in violation of paragraph (a) of this subsection (1) commits the offense of illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile.

(c) (I) Illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile is a class 2 misdemeanor.

(II) For any second or subsequent offense, illegal possession of a handgun by a juvenile is a class 5 felony.

(d) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is taken into custody by a law enforcement officer for an offense pursuant to this section shall be taken into temporary custody in the manner described in section 19-2-508, C.R.S.

(2) This section shall not apply to:

(a) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is:

(I) In attendance at a hunter’s safety course or a firearms safety course; or

(II) Engaging in practice in the use of a firearm or target shooting at an established range authorized by the governing body of the jurisdiction in which such range is located or any other area where the discharge of a firearm is not prohibited; or

(III) Engaging in an organized competition involving the use of a firearm or participating in or practicing for a performance by an organized group under 501 (c) (3) as determined by the federal internal revenue service which uses firearms as a part of such performance; or

(IV) Hunting or trapping pursuant to a valid license issued to such person pursuant to article 4 of title 33, C.R.S.; or

(V) Traveling with any handgun in such person’s possession being unloaded to or from any activity described in subparagraph (I), (II), (III), or (IV) of this paragraph (a);

(b) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is on real property under the control of such person’s parent, legal guardian, or grandparent and who has the permission of such person’s parent or legal guardian to possess a handgun;

(c) Any person under the age of eighteen years who is at such person’s residence and who, with the permission of such person’s parent or legal guardian, possesses a handgun for the purpose of exercising the rights contained in section 18-1-704 or section 18-1-704.5.

(3) For the purposes of subsection (2) of this section, a handgun is “loaded” if:

(a) There is a cartridge in the chamber of the handgun; or

(b) There is a cartridge in the cylinder of the handgun, if the handgun is a revolver; or

(c) The handgun, and the ammunition for such handgun, is carried on the person of a person under the age of eighteen years or is in such close proximity to such person that such person could readily gain access to the handgun and the ammunition and load the handgun.

WARNING: An Adult Can Be Prosecuted For Providing Or Permitting A Juvenile To Have A Handgun

Colorado District Attorneys have the authority to prosecute adults who unlawfully make it possible to possess a handgun.

This Colorado law can be as serious as a Class 4 Felony and – or depending on the facts of the case, can also be charged as a Class 1 Misdemeanor.

The law contains several sections that are somewhat complex and is found at Section 18-12-108.7.

Here is a summary of this important law:

In Colorado, a person is criminally liable for a felony who:

  • Intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun to any person under age 18;
  • Knows of a juvenile’s unlawful possession of a handgun and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the juvenile’s conduct;
  • Is aware of a substantial risk that a juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony and permits the juvenile to possess a handgun; or
  • Is aware of a substantial risk that a juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the commission of the offense.

Additionally:

  • Any person who sells, rents, or transfers ownership of a long gun to a juvenile without the consent of his or her parent or guardian is criminally liable for a misdemeanor.
  • This provision also prohibits a person from allowing unsupervised possession of a long gun by a juvenile without the consent of his or her parent or guardian.

The entire law is reprinted it below:

§ 18-12-108.7. Unlawfully Providing or Permitting a Juvenile to Possess a Handgun – Penalty – Unlawfully Providing a Firearm Other than a Handgun to a Juvenile – Penalty

(1) (a) Any person who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun with or without remuneration to any person under the age of eighteen years in violation of section 18-12-108.5 or any person who knows of such juvenile’s conduct which violates section 18-12-108.5 and fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent such violation commits the crime of unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.

(b) Unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun in violation of this subsection (1) is a class 4 felony.

(2) (a) Any person who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly provides a handgun to a juvenile or permits a juvenile to possess a handgun, even though such person is aware of a substantial risk that such juvenile will use a handgun to commit a felony offense, or who, being aware of such substantial risk, fails to make reasonable efforts to prevent the commission of the offense, commits the crime of unlawfully providing or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun.

A person shall be deemed to have violated this paragraph (a) if such person provides a handgun to or permits the possession of a handgun by any juvenile who has been convicted of a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, or any juvenile who has been adjudicated a juvenile delinquent for an offense which would constitute a crime of violence, as defined in section 18-1.3-406, if such juvenile were an adult.

(b) Unlawfully providing a handgun to a juvenile or permitting a juvenile to possess a handgun in violation of this subsection (2) is a class 4 felony.

(3) With regard to firearms other than handguns, no person shall sell, rent, or transfer ownership or allow unsupervised possession of a firearm with or without remuneration to any juvenile without the consent of the juvenile’s parent or legal guardian. Unlawfully providing a firearm other than a handgun to a juvenile in violation of this subsection (3) is a class 1 misdemeanor.

(4) It shall not be an offense under this section if a person believes that a juvenile will physically harm the person if the person attempts to disarm the juvenile or prevent the juvenile from committing a violation of section 18-12-108.5.

Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law – A Dangerous Combination Section 18-12-108.5

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The reader is admonished that Colorado criminal law, like criminal law in every state and at the Federal level, changes constantly. The article appearing above was accurate at the time it was drafted but it cannot account for changes occurring after it was uploaded.

If, after reading this article, you have questions about your case and would like to consider retaining our law firm, we invite you to contact us at the Steinberg Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm – 303-627-7777.

Never stop fighting – never stop believing in yourself and your right to due process of law. You will not be alone in court, H. Michael will be at your side every step of the way – advocating for justice and the best possible result in your case. H. Michael Steinberg is passionate about criminal defense. His extensive knowledge and experience of Colorado Criminal Law gives him the edge you need to properly handle your case

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: H. Michael Steinberg – Email The Author at:

hmsteinberg@hotmail.com

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“A good criminal defense lawyer is someone who devotes themselves to their client’s case from beginning to end, always realizing that this case is the most important thing in that client’s life.”

You should be careful to make a responsible choice in selecting a Colorado Criminal Defense Lawyer. We encourage you to “vet” our firm. Over the last 30 plus years – by focusing ONLY on Colorado criminal law – H. Michael has had the necessary time to commit to the task of constantly updating himself on nearly every area of criminal law, to include Colorado criminal law and procedure and trial and courtroom practice. H. Michael works hard to get his clients the best possible results in and out of the courtroom. He has written, and continues to write, extensively on Colorado criminal law and he hopes this article helps you in some small way -Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law – A Dangerous Combination Section 18-12-108.5.



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Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law - A Dangerous Combination Section 18-12-108.5
Article Name
Kids, Guns, And Colorado Juvenile Law - A Dangerous Combination Section 18-12-108.5
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Colorado has always been a very pro-gun state - but about 25 years ago, the Colorado state legislature acted to stop, what was at that time, an epidemic of gun violence involving juveniles.
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___________________________
H. Michael Steinberg Esq.
Attorney and Counselor at Law
The Colorado Criminal Defense Law Firm of H. Michael Steinberg
A Denver, Colorado Lawyer Focused Exclusively On
Colorado Criminal Law For Over 30 Years.
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