A number of different legal situations may affect your right to own a firearm in Nevada. If you are charged with particular crimes, your gun rights and your freedom itself may be at risk, and you will need the advice and services of a Las Vegas firearms lawyer.
The Constitution protects the right to possess firearms, but at the same time, a number of federal and state laws directly affect that right. What you are about to read is a short introduction to gun laws and gun rights in Nevada.
Who may legally own firearms in Nevada? What criminal charges and convictions can put your gun rights at risk? What will a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer do to protect your firearm rights? If you’ll keep reading, you will find the answers you may need.
What Do Federal Firearm Laws Require?
Federal law sets the minimum standards for owning a firearm. If you receive a conviction in any state on a domestic violence charge, whether the charge is a felony or a misdemeanor, unless you are given a full pardon, you cannot legally possess or purchase a gun in the United States.
Federal laws also set standards for gun laws at the state level, and states can impose additional restrictions on gun ownership. For instance, Nevada’s “red flag” statute allows the Nevada courts to remove firearms – temporarily – from persons who may be a danger to themselves and others.
Police officers and immediate family members may ask a Nevada court for a protection order that temporarily prevents a high-risk individual from having a gun. These court orders last for seven days but may be extended for up to a year or more.
Who Cannot Own a Gun in Nevada?
As mentioned previously, federal law prohibits a person from possessing or purchasing firearms if that person:
- has been convicted of a domestic violence felony or misdemeanor
- is subject to a court order based on domestic violence or a mental health condition
Additionally, Nevada state law prevents anyone from owning, possessing, carrying, or using a firearm if that person has been deemed mentally ill or committed to a mental health facility in this or any other state; has been found guilty but mentally ill or has been acquitted by reason of insanity of any criminal charge in this or any other state; or:
- has a felony conviction in Nevada, any other state, or at the federal level
- has a misdemeanor domestic violence conviction
- is the subject of a domestic violence protection order in this or any other state
- illegally uses or is addicted to any controlled substance
- is in the United States illegally
How Are Background Checks for Gun Sales Conducted?
Under federal law, federally licensed gun dealers (but not private individuals) must conduct a background check on a prospective gun buyer prior to concluding a sale.
Since 2020, Nevada law requires gun sales and transfers between unlicensed individuals to be conducted with the assistance of a federally licensed gun dealer to ensure that a background check is conducted. Gun transfers that are exempt from this legal requirement include transfers:
- to police agencies and officers, licensed security guards, federal officials, and members of the military if they are acting within the scope of their employment
- between immediate family members, transfers to the executor of an estate, and transfers of antique firearms
- that are temporary for competition, hunting, or shooting range use
When and Where May You Carry a Firearm in Nevada?
Nevada does not directly ban the open carry of handguns. You may carry a handgun without a concealed carry permit provided that the gun is clearly visible and is not in any way hidden or concealed. To carry a concealed handgun, a concealed carry weapon permit is required.
Carrying a concealed firearm without a valid permit is a Category C felony in Nevada. The penalties for a conviction include prison time and a costly fine. Additionally, you may not carry a firearm in any of these locations in Nevada:
- private or public school premises or the premises of a child care facility
- buildings at airports or buildings in national parks
- federal buildings
- government buildings with metal detectors or “no weapons” signs
What Are Some of Nevada’s Gun Laws?
Nevada has a lengthy list of gun laws. Examples of those laws include:
- The discharge of a firearm in a populated area is a Category B felony.
- Assaulting someone with a gun is a Category B felony.
- Stealing a gun is a Category B felony.
- Aiming a gun at a person is a gross misdemeanor.
- Shooting a gun into an unpopulated area is a misdemeanor.
- Brandishing a firearm in a threatening manner is a misdemeanor.
How Can You Protect Your Right to Bear Arms?
Once your gun rights have been removed in Nevada, restoring those rights is difficult and often impossible. Restoring your gun rights takes a full pardon from the Nevada Board of Pardons Commissioners for the underlying crime that triggered the removal of your gun rights.
If you have successfully completed all of the terms and conditions of a felony sentence or a misdemeanor domestic violence sentence, discuss with a Nevada criminal defense attorney whether you should apply for a full pardon.
Honestly, however, pardons are rare in Nevada. Avoiding a felony or domestic violence misdemeanor conviction is the one certain way to keep your gun rights in this state. If you face any felony or domestic violence charge, contact a Las Vegas firearms lawyer immediately.
How Will a Firearms Lawyer Help You?
If you’re charged with any felony or domestic violence misdemeanor in the Las Vegas area, a Nevada firearms lawyer will review the charge and the evidence. Your lawyer will then develop an effective and aggressive strategy for your defense.
Your lawyer may first seek to have the charge dropped or the case dismissed. Your lawyer may also seek a plea deal to reduce the charge and the possible penalties. Depending on the details, a conviction on a lesser charge may not have any impact on your right to bear arms.
However, if you are innocent of the charge against you, and if that charge is not dropped or dismissed, insist on your right to a jury trial. At a trial, your defense lawyer will explain what happened and why the jurors should acquit you of the charge.
Avoiding a felony conviction or a domestic violence conviction is the way to keep your gun rights in Nevada. If you’re charged with a felony or a domestic violence crime in the Las Vegas area, seek help at once, and contact a Las Vegas criminal defense lawyer immediately.