Gun Laws Enforcement in Las Vegas, Nevada
It is legal to openly carry a rifle, handgun or any legal firearm while walking down the Las Vegas Strip or anywhere in Nevada unless you have previously been convicted of a crime or otherwise disqualified. With a permit, you can carry a concealed handgun in Nevada.
However, there are limitations to where and when you may possess a gun in Nevada, and violations can lead to a prison sentence plus a hefty fine. Las Vegas police and prosecutors take seriously violations of gun laws, especially since a gunman killed 58 people at a music festival on The Strip in 2017.
The severity of penalties for weapons crimes in Nevada makes it crucial to respect gun laws when in Las Vegas. No matter the circumstances of an arrest for gun law violations, you will need the help of a respected criminal defense attorney if you are charged with violating the weapons laws.
At Adras & Altig, we understand that people make mistakes, and we will treat you with the respect you deserve if you face gun charges in Las Vegas. In the meantime, arm yourself with the facts to avoid an arrest.
Open Carry and Places Where Guns are Prohibited in Nevada
Nevada has no laws prohibiting open carry of firearms in the state. Since 2016, the state has prohibited local city and county governments from adopting ordinances against open carry of firearms. Nevada state law does not require the registration of firearms.
Open carry is defined as wearing a holstered handgun unconcealed by clothing, usually on the hip or leg, or carrying a rifle or shotgun, generally slung across a shoulder.
Carrying a concealed gun is also legal throughout Nevada as long as the person has a valid conceal carry permit (NRS 202.3653). This means a gun may be concealed on the body hidden by clothing or carried in a bag or purse.
To obtain a concealed weapon permit you must be at least 21 years old, complete an approved firearms course and not be prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a legal violation or other disqualification. Concealing a firearm without a permit is a Category C felony (NRS 202.350), which is punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
The State of Nevada does prohibit guns in certain places, including:
- Public schools, including colleges and universities
- Childcare facilities
- Law enforcement agency facilities
- Courthouses and courtrooms
- Legislative buildings.
Additionally, federal law prohibits guns at:
- Airports beyond TSA checkpoints
- Federal courthouses
- Social Security offices
- Post offices
- Military bases (unless authorized)
- VA facilities, such as hospitals and clinics.
Two federal properties near Las Vegas have specific regulations:
- Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area, a Bureau of Land Management property, does not allow loaded firearms.
- Hoover Dam does not allow firearms.
Businesses, such as casinos, restaurants, stores, and offices, are private property. Though there is no law against carrying a weapon openly at such businesses, an owner or property manager has the right to ask you to leave or remove your weapon from the property. If you refuse to do so, you may be charged with trespassing.
A Las Vegas casino will almost certainly ask you to leave if you enter displaying a firearm, but the Nevada Carry organization says the majority of Nevada businesses are friendly to firearms.
You may carry a weapon openly in a bar if the owner does not object, but it is illegal to be in possession of a firearm and have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or more. The law (NRS 202.257) was tightened from .10 to .08 in the 2019 Nevada Legislature session, one of several changes to gun laws made in 2019.
Possessing a Gun With a Criminal Record or Restraining Order in Nevada
Certain people are prohibited from possessing firearms in Nevada. This includes anyone under 18 years old unless he or she is in the presence of a parent, guardian or other adults, with exceptions for youths age 14 and older who are hunting or using a gun at a shooting range or firearms safety course with a parent, guardian or other adults.
As adults, Nevada residents may be prohibited from possessing firearms if they are:
- Convicted felons or under felony indictment
- Convicted of domestic violence
- Convicted stalkers
- Subjects of domestic violence protection orders
- Illicit drug users or addicts
- Adjudicated as mentally ill or have been legally committed to a mental health facility
- Illegal immigrants.
If you are the subject of a restraining order (including domestic violence protection orders), the judge may prohibit you from possessing guns as part of the order.
In 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that a known user of marijuana in Nevada could be refused the sale of a firearm and in doing so upheld 18 U.S. Code § 922(g)(3), which criminalizes possession or receipt of a firearm by an unlawful drug user or a person addicted to a controlled substance. And while recreational use of marijuana in Nevada is now legal in private residences, it remains a controlled substance.
Penalties for Gun Crimes in Nevada
If a person is convicted of using a gun to commit a crime in Nevada, such as armed robbery or assault with a deadly weapon, the prison term imposed for conviction of such crimes of violence may be increased by 1 to 20 years (NRS 193.165) because of the presence of the weapon.
Illegal possession of a gun without an additional crime carries significant punishment, too.
Possessing a gun in a prohibited location in Nevada is a misdemeanor punishable by:
- up to 6 months in jail, and/or
- up to $1,000 in fines, and/or
- community service.
Being a felon, fugitive or drug addict in possession of a firearm is a Category B felony in Nevada punishable by 1 to 20 years in prison and an unspecified fine.
- Being an illegal immigrant or mentally ill and in possession of a firearm is a Category D felony in Nevada punishable by 1 to 4 years in prison and a fine of up to $5,000.
- Possessing guns in violation of a restraining order is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada punishable by up to 364 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
- Giving a gun to a prohibited person is a Category C felony in Nevada punishable by 1 to 5 years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000. Any crime committed on federal property may be prosecuted as a federal crime. A conviction on federal weapons charges typically puts the defendant at risk for punishment that is more severe than state law provides.
- Possession of a gun in a federal facility other than a courthouse is punishable by up to 1 year in prison and an unspecified fine (18 U.S. Code § 930).
- Possession of a gun in a federal courthouse is punishable by up to 2 years in prison and a fine.
Do I Need A Criminal Defense Lawyer?
You should never face gun or weapons charges on your own in Las Vegas or anywhere in Nevada. It is the job of prosecutors to convict and punish defendants, and violations of gun laws are taken seriously.
Being charged with gun crime is not the same as being convicted. You have a right to every legal defense available to help you to avoid jail and fines. The Las Vegas weapons charges attorneys of Adras & Altig will work relentlessly to direct your case toward the most favorable outcome for you. We will protect your rights and build a strong and persuasive defense for you.
We urge you to exercise your right to remain silent and to ask for an attorney if arrested for any criminal charge in Las Vegas, and then to contact Adras & Altig at your first opportunity.