This is also contradicted by state statues:
A loaded handgun is having ammunition in the magazine and the magazine in the magazine well, with or without a round in the chamber. I did not get any clarification regarding revolvers and having a hammer on an empty cylinder, so I won't even give my opinion on this.
CRS 33-6-125. Possession of a loaded firearm in a motor vehicle.
It is unlawful for any person, except a person authorized by law or by the division, to possess or have under his control any firearm, other than a pistol or revolver, in or on any motor vehicle unless the chamber of such firearm is unloaded....Although CRS 336-125 is specifying a long gun, the chamber of the gun, as it relates to a semi-automatic handgun for this purpose, is the same. Both can contain ammunition, without actually having one in the chamber ready to fire. Pulling the trigger of a rifle or shotgun that has rounds in the detachable mag, permanent mag or tube will not result in a discharge just as pulling the trigger of a semi-auto pistol with a loaded mag but an unloaded chamber will not. Additionally, the statute's title is "Possession of a loaded firearm...". This isn't definitive, but it is further evidence of what the legislature deems a "loaded firearm" to be.
In contradiction, US CODE: Title 49,46505. Carrying a weapon or explosive on an aircraft:
(a) Definition.— In this section, “loaded firearm” means a starter gun or a weapon designed or converted to expel a projectile through an explosive, that has a cartridge, a detonator, or powder in the chamber, magazine, cylinder, or clip. But that is a federal reg for a specific situation. I also found a California Appellate Case, People vs. Clark 1996, stating that:
The term "loaded" has a commonly understood meaning: "to put a load or charge in (a device or piece of equipment) a gun" or "to put a load on or in a carrier, device, or container; esp: to insert the cartridge into the chamber of a firearm." (Webster's New Collegiate Dict (1976) p. 674) Under the commonly understood meaning of the term "loaded", a firearm is "loaded" when a shell or cartridge has been placed into a position from which it can be fired;Again, not specifically relevant, but it's interesting to see what other courts have said. I would think that this requires further study. Thoughts anyone?