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Colorado Hunting Laws: Can Felons Use Crossbows?

In Colorado, felons are generally prohibited from possessing firearms, including traditional bows and crossbows, due to state and federal laws. However, they may be allowed to use crossbows for hunting if they obtain a special permit for individuals with disabilities from Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
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C.L. Mike Schmidt Published by C.L. Mike Schmidt

Can Felons Hunt with a Crossbow in Colorado?

According to SCLG, the legality of a convicted felon hunting with a crossbow in Colorado is unclear. A strict interpretation of Colorado statutes suggests that felons may not possess any weapons, including crossbows, for hunting or other purposes [1].

But it also can be argued that crossbows fall outside the definition of prohibited weapons by convicted felons as long as the blade is less than 3.5 inches in length – SCLG stated

Crossbows differ from traditional bows in that they have a mounted “prod” and shoot bolts or quarrels. They also have a lock mechanism to hold the bowstring, which is released by a trigger similar to that of a gun.

Colorado Laws on Possessing Weapons

Under CRS § 18-12-108, Colorado law classifies it as a class 5 felony for a convicted felon to knowingly possess, use, or carry a firearm or other prohibited weapon. This crime is known as possession of a weapon by a previous offender (POWPO).

A class 5 felony for possession of a weapon by a previous offender can result in:

  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • Fines up to $100,000

This law applies if the person has been convicted of:

  • A felony offense listed under CRS 24-4.1-302(1)
  • A juvenile act equivalent to one of the felonies listed under CRS 24-4.1-302(1) if committed by an adult (applicable for 10 years from the date of juvenile adjudication)
  • Misdemeanor offenses related to domestic violence

Penalties for Illegal Possession of a Firearm in Colorado

According to Matthew A. Martin, in Colorado, convicted felons found in knowing possession of a firearm face severe penalties [2].

A class 6 felony charge for this offense can result in:

  • Up to 1 ½ years in prison
  • Fines up to $100,000

The charge may be elevated to a class 5 felony under certain conditions:

  • If you are caught with a dangerous weapon such as a firearm silencer or a short shotgun
  • If your previous felony conviction occurred within 10 years and involved crimes like arson, burglary, or any felony involving the use of force or a deadly weapon

A class 5 felony in Colorado carries a maximum penalty of:

  • Up to 3 years in prison
  • Fines up to $100,000

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References:

1. https://www.shouselaw.com/co/blog/criminal-defense/can-a-felon-hunt-with-a-crossbow-in-colorado/
2. https://denversdefenseattorney.com/criminal-defense/weapon-crimes/possession-of-a-weapon-by-a-previous-offender/

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