How to buy a gun in Nevada - 3 steps

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 24, 2020 | 0 Comments

There are three steps to purchasing a firearm in Nevada. Step one is to check that you are qualified. Step two is to go to a licensed dealer (even for private gun sales). Step three is to complete ATF Form 443 (unless an exception applies).

Step 1: Check if you are qualified

Not everyone is eligible to buy firearms. The following people are automatically disqualified.

  • Convicted felons
  • People convicted of domestic violence
  • People charged with a crime carrying more than one year in prison
  • Fugitives
  • The subject of restraining orders for stalking, harassing, or threatening an intimate partner of his/her child
  • Dishonorably discharged vets
  • Drug addicts or users (this includes marijuana)
  • People involuntarily committed to a mental institution
  • People adjudicated as mental defectives
  • Illegal aliens
  • Non-immigrant visa-holders
  • Anyone who gave up their U.S. citizenship

Step 2: Go to a licensed gun dealer

People can purchase guns from a licensed gun dealer. This sale may be done online or in-person at the store.

If this is a private sale, the parties must meet at a licensed gun dealer.

Step 3: Fill out the ATF Form 443

The gun purchaser must then complete the ATF Form 443. Then the dealer will run a NICS background check. This usually costs $25 and takes a few minutes. 

(There is no background check fee for private gun sales. But the licensed dealer may still charge a fee for running the check.)

If the background check comes back as "approved," the buyer may legally purchase the gun. If it comes back as "denied," the buyer may not legally purchase the gun. If the background comes back as "delayed," the buyer will get a final answer within three days.


Buyers who have a current and valid CCW permit still have to fill out the ATF Form. But the dealer does not have to run a background check.

Neither the licensed dealer, ATF Form, nor background check is required when:

  • The buyer is a licensed gun dealer;
  • The buyer is a police officer or security officer. And he/she is buying a weapon for official duties;
  • The firearm is antique (pre-1899);
  • The buyer is the executor, administrator, representative, or trustee of the dead gun owner's estate; or
  • The buyer is a relative of the seller. This includes
    • Parents
    • Children
    • Spouses
    • Domestic partners
    • Siblings
    • Grandparents
    • Grandchildren
    • Aunts
    • Uncles
    • Nieces
    • Nephews

Firearm crimes

People who illegally buy or possess guns face serious charges in Nevada. Being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm (NRS 202.360) is a category B felony. The penalty includes:

The same punishment applies to being a drug user in possession of a firearm.

Concealed carry without a valid permit (NRS 202.350) is a category C felony. The sentence is:

  • 1 - 5 years in prison, and
  • Up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Possessing guns in violation of a restraining order is a gross misdemeanor. The sentence is:

  • Up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • Up to $2,000 in fines

And possessing a gun with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher is a misdemeanor

  • Up to 6 months in jail, and/or
  • Up to $1,000 in fines

Learn more in our article gun possession under the influence (NRS 202.257).

About the Author

Neil Shouse

A former Los Angeles prosecutor, attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT). He has been featured on CNN, Good Morning America, Dr Phil, Court TV, The Today Show and Court TV. Mr Shouse has been recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as one of the Top 100 Criminal and Top 100 Civil Attorneys.


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