Know the Law: Non-Lethal Self-Defense | Colorado


The following is a video transcript.

Hi, my name is Lindsay Richardson, Independent Program Attorney for U.S. LawShield. Today I will talk to you about non-lethal weapons you can use in self-defense in Colorado.

Dangerous weapons and illegal weapons

Before we start, let’s talk about two categories of lethal and non-lethal weapons that are illegal in Colorado. These categories are outlined in Colorado Revised Statutes § 18-12-102. These categories are described as dangerous weapons and illegal weapons. Dangerous weapons include a firearm silencer, a machine gun, a short shotgun, a short rifle, and a ballistic knife.

Illegal weapons include a blackjack, a gas gun, and metallic knuckles. Possession of a dangerous weapon in Colorado is a felony. The possession of an illegal weapon in Colorado is a misdemeanor.  However, there are exceptions to both of those categories. Some exceptions are that the person that was carrying either a dangerous or illegal weapon was a peace officer or a member of the Armed Forces in the United States or the Colorado National Guard acting in the lawful discharge of their duties or that the person had a valid permit or license for such a weapon.

So, in general, possession of dangerous and illegal weapons, even in a self-defense situation, is illegal, unless one of the above exceptions applies.

The takeaway

So, what sort of non-lethal weapons could you use in a self-defense situation? Examples of legal weapons would be a stun gun, taser, baseball bat, BB gun,  knife with a blade no longer than three and a half inches in length, and really anything else in your possession that you could use to defend yourself. But remember, any weapon you use, even a non-lethal weapon, must be used in a manner that’s reasonable under the circumstances.

If you have any questions about the topics we’ve discussed or questions about lethal or non-lethal weapons or how they may or may not be used in a self-defense situation, contact U.S. LawShield and asked to speak to your Independent Program Attorney.

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