I’m sure everyone is familiar with the Bundy Ranch incident that occurred in Nevada last month. A 20 year legal dispute between the Bureau of Land Management and rancher, Cliven Bundy, over unpaid grazing fees, turned into an armed standoff between protesters and law enforcement. With all these gun toting protesters walking around, I believe now would be a good time to review some of the State of Nevada’s current gun laws.
In 1982, the Nevada Constitution, Article 1, Section 11, was amended to state “Every citizen has the right to keep and bear arms for security and defense, for lawful hunting and recreational use and for other lawful purposes.” However, Nevada still has restrictive gun laws especially when it comes to handguns. For instance,Clark County Code 12.04.110 requires registration of handguns. Additionally, discharge of any firearm within city limits is prohibited by Clark County Code 12.04.230.
Who may possess a firearm?
The minimum age for possessing or transporting guns is 18 years of age. Minors under the age of 18 may possess a firearm if they are accompanied by a parent, guardian or other designee.
It is never a good idea to possess a gun while drinking alcohol. Pursuant to NRS 202.257, no one may possess a firearm if their blood alcohol concentration is 0.10 or more. Any person who does so, is guilty of a misdemeanor.
NRS 202.360(1) states a person convicted of a felony in any state cannot possess a firearm as well as fugitives from justice, and unlawful users or addicts of controlled substances. A violation of NRS 202.360(1) is a Category B felony and is punishable by 1-6 years in state prison. NRS 202.360(2) prohibits any person who has been adjudicated mentally ill or is illegally or unlawfully in the United States from owning or possessing a firearm. A violation of NRS202.360(2) is a Category D felony and is punishable by 1-4 years in state prison.
Can a person carry concealed a firearm on their person?
Nevada is not a “constitutional carry state,” which allows residents to carry concealed handguns without a permit. In fact, it is a felony to carry a handgun concealed without a permit. NRS 202.350 (1)(d)(3), states that a person within the State shall not carry concealed upon his person a pistol, revolver or other firearm. A violation of this section is a Category C felony punishable by 1-5 years in state prison.
What does “carry concealed upon one’s person” mean?
The Attorney General’s Office rendered Opinion No.9-14, which determined that concealed weapons that are actually on the person include a container also carried by the person. So, concealed upon your person includes any purse, pouch, bag, handbag or briefcase that you carry.
Who can get a concealed weapons permit (CCW)?
Nevada is a shall issue state for concealed weapons permits. This means if you meet the statutory qualifications, the County Sherriff must issue you a permit. NRS 202.3657 states that the Sherriff shall issue a permit to any person who is qualified to possess a handgun under state and federal law, who submits an application and is 21 years of age or older, is not prohibited from possessing a firearm (a felon, a fugitive from justice, or an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance), and demonstrates competence with handguns by presenting a certificate of completion from a course in firearm safety. However, an application shall be denied if the applicant:
- Has an outstanding warrant of arrest;
- Has been judicially declared incompetent or insane;
- Has been admitted to a mental health facility during the preceding 5 years;
- Has habitually used intoxicating liquor or a controlled substance;
- Has been convicted of a crime involving the use or threatened use of force punishable as a misdemeanor during the preceding 3 years;
- Has been convicted of a felony;
- Has been convicted of a crime involving domestic violence or stalking, or is currently subject to a restraining order for protection against domestic violence;
- Is currently on parole or probation from a conviction; or
- Has made a false statement on any application for a permit or for the renewal of a permit.
What is “open carry?”
A gun in a holster that is readily discernible is considered “open carry.” Nevada law does not prohibit carrying a firearm openly. However, a partially visible handgun may be considered concealed. If you do not have a CCW, it is best to have your gun completely out in the open in a holster. Do not have the gun sticking out of a pocket or a purse. Do not allow the gun to be partially or fully covered by clothing, such as a jacket or shirt.
Additionally, there are places you do not want to carry a firearm, even if you have a valid CCW permit. Nevada law forbids carrying a firearm in the following locations:
- Federal buildings, post offices and buildings used by government offices;
- Property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, a private or public school or child care facility;
- Airports and buildings on property of a public airport;
- County and City parks where prohibited;
- Public buildings with metal detectors at each entrance or a sign posted at each entrance with “no firearms allowed in the building;”
- Any facility of a law enforcement agency;
- Any prison, county or city jail, or detention facility;
- Any courthouse or courtroom; and
- Buildings in national parks.
Finally, never point a gun at another human being unless you are in fear for your life and you intend to shoot them. Under NRS 202.290, it is unlawful to aim a firearm at another human being, whether the gun is loaded or not, and is a gross misdemeanor punishable by up to 12 months in County jail.
Hopefully this article has answered some of your questions about gun laws in the State of Nevada. By no means is this a comprehensive review of all the gun laws in Nevada, but rather a starting point. For a more practical instruction of gun laws in Nevada, I would recommend taking an approved course on firearm safety, such as one that is required for a concealed carry permit.