Gun Crimes & Nevada Laws: What You Need to Know

The mass shooting in Las Vegas earlier this month was a tragedy for all involved, and our legal team at Joey Gilbert Law extends our condolences to the victims and families affected. As our country unites in solidarity, and investigations into the shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, continue, we find that conversations about gun laws have again been renewed.

While there is ample debate about how these types of shootings can be prevented, and while authorities piece together what led to the event, the tragedy helps remind us all about issues involving guns and the regulatory framework surrounding them. With such fervent debate, however, the facts about gun laws currently in place can be skewed or overshadowed. As such, our firm wanted to ensure Nevada residents know and understand the law when it comes to firearms, crimes, and state and federal laws.

In Nevada, as with any other state, guns are legal for those who have the right to own them, and it is critical to know the laws when it comes to ownership and use. Here are a few important facts about Nevada gun laws and weapons offenses:

Second Amendment Right – Nevada, just as every other state in the nation, protects the Second Amendment constitutional rights of citizens to bear arms. As federal law, Americans can purchase and keep firearms for defense and security, lawful recreation or hunting, and other lawful purposes, but states may regulate gun ownership further. In Nevada, individuals do not need a permit to purchase a firearm, nor do they need to register handguns per a law passed in June 2015 (SB 175). Individuals are also generally permitted to open carry throughout the state (with the exception of some prohibited locations) with no permit needed, and to conceal carry with an appropriate CCW license. Nevada does not restrict magazine capacity or assault weapons (however, it is illegal to possess a machine gun registered after 1986 under federal law).

Prohibited Persons – Although Americans have the right to buy and own firearms, they can lose this right under certain circumstances, including some criminal convictions. The following parties are prohibited by federal law and Nevada law from owning a firearm:

  • Convicted felons
  • Individuals convicted of misdemeanor domestic violence
  • Subjects of domestic restraining orders
  • Individuals under indictment for crimes punishable by more than a year in prison
  • Fugitives of justice
  • Minors
  • An addict of any controlled substance
  • Mentally ill individuals
  • Individuals in the U.S. illegally
  • Individuals dishonorably discharged from the military

Nevada Gun Crimes – Nevada enforces a number of firearm laws, and imposes strict penalties for those convicted. Here are a few criminal laws regarding firearms:

  • Unlawful possession of a firearm is a criminal offense in Nevada. In addition to ex-felons, fugitives and drug addicts can face Category B felony charges and between 1 to 6 years in prison upon conviction. Individuals who are mentally ill or in the U.S. illegally may face Category D felony charges for unlawful possession, and between 1 to 4 years in prison. There are also laws prohibiting the possession of firearms by individuals who are the subject of restraining orders. Possessing a gun in violation of a protective order is a gross misdemeanor that subjects individuals to jail sentences of up to 364 days. While it is not illegal to carry a gun while drinking alcohol or being in a bar, it is illegal under Nevada law to possess a firearm with a BAC level of .1 or higher. Possessing a firearm under the influence is a misdemeanor punishable by up to 6 months in jail.
  • Possession a firearm in a prohibited location is a misdemeanor punishable by fines and up to six months in jail. Prohibited locations include schools and child care facilities, airports, public offices (VA, post offices, legislative buildings, etc.), military bases, and the Hoover Dam.
  • Carrying a concealed weapon without a permit is a crime in Nevada. Without a CCW permit, individuals can face Category C felony charges punishable by up to $10,000 in fines and 1 to 5 years in prison.
  • Crimes involving guns – There are many laws involving crimes and guns in Nevada. These include the unlawful shooting of guns (from a vehicle, into a populated area, into abandoned property), the drawing or aiming of a gun (assault, aiming, or brandishing), and selling or making guns (selling to a prohibited persons, making a short-barreled shotgun or rifle, and making or selling metal penetrating ammo for shotguns).
  • Sentencing Enhancements – Using a firearm in the commission of a crime can result in severe sentencing enhancements. For example, possessing a firearm while committing a robbery can double the maximum sentence of 15 years in prison to 30 years.

Gun ownership is a right and responsibility, and while Nevada permits lawful ownership, it also enforces strict laws and penalties for those who violate the law. If you have questions about weapons offenses or wish to discuss a criminal arrest and charge with a Reno criminal defense attorney from Joey Gilbert Law, contact us for a free consultation.


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