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Are brass knuckles illegal in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Apr 02, 2019 | 0 Comments

Yes. Brass knuckles are prohibited in Nevada. Possessing "metal knuckles" (which is what Nevada law calls" brass knuckles") is usually a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

  • up to 364 days in jail, and/or
  • up to $2,000 in fines
device
Brass knuckles are illegal in Nevada. They are generally considered to be a gang weapon.

Definition of metal knuckles

Metal knuckles are a metal device of four connected holes that the wearers grip their non-thumb fingers through. People wearing metal knuckles can deliver a much more powerful punch than if no brass knuckles are worn. Depending on the force used, metal knuckles can cause serious damage, including:

  • tissue damage (cuts),
  • fractured bones, and/or
  • possibly death

The shape of the device allows it to absorb much of the counter-force so that the wearer does not experience hand injuries.

Brass knuckles also go by the names:

  • knuckles,
  • knucks,
  • knucklebusters,
  • knuckledusters,
  • English punch, or
  • a classic

Legality of metal knuckles in Nevada

NRS 202.350 makes it illegal in Nevada to take any of the following actions regarding brass knuckles:

  • manufacture,
  • import,
  • keep,
  • offer,
  • expose for sale,
  • give,
  • lend, or
  • possess

In short, metal knuckles are completely illegal throughout Nevada in every way. Carrying or wearing metal knuckles is unlawful no matter whether they are concealed or not.

A first offense of possessing metal knuckles is a gross misdemeanor in Nevada, carrying:

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

Any subsequent offense is a category D felony in Nevada, carrying:

  • one to four (1 - 4) years in Nevada State Prison, and
  • up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Metal knuckles on school or child care grounds

Metal knuckles are prohibited everywhere in Nevada. There is even a separate law under NRS 202.265 specifically prohibiting metal knuckles from school property, including:

  • the Nevada System of Higher Education,
  • private schools,
  • public schools,
  • child care facilities, and/or
  • in a vehicle of a private or public school or child care facility

Possessing brass knuckles on school property is a gross misdemeanor, carrying:

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

Brass knuckles as "dangerous weapons"

NRS 393.410 makes it a gross misdemeanor for someone with a "dangerous weapon" (such as metal knuckles) to either:

  • commit any nuisance in any public schoolhouse;
  • loiter on or near the school grounds; or
  • purposely and maliciously commit any trespass upon the grounds attached to a public schoolhouse, or any fixtures placed thereon, or any enclosure or sidewalk near the school

The gross misdemeanor penalties include:

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

Finally, it is a "public offense" in Nevada to possess a "dangerous weapon" (such as brass knuckles) while "willfully and maliciously injuring, marking, or defacing any public schoolhouse, its fixtures, books, or appurtenances." The punishment depends on the value of the property damaged or destroyed:

When the value of the loss is less than $250, the defendant faces misdemeanor penalties, carrying:

  • up to six (6) months in jail, and/or
  • up to $1,000 in fines

When the value of the loss is $250 to less than $5,000, the defendant faces gross misdemeanor penalties, carrying:

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

When the value of the loss is $5,000 or higher, the defendant faces category C felony penalties, carrying:

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

Note that pupils who bring brass knuckles to a public school face a one (1) expulsion for a first-time offense and a permanent expulsion for a second offense.


Legal References

NRS 202.350  Manufacture, importation, possession or use of dangerous weapon or silencer; carrying concealed weapon without permit; penalties; issuance of permit to carry concealed weapon; exceptions.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section and NRS 202.3653 to 202.369, inclusive, a person within this State shall not:

      (a) Manufacture or cause to be manufactured, or import into the State, or keep, offer or expose for sale, or give, lend or possess any instrument or weapon of the kind commonly known as a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag or metal knuckles;

    ...

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in NRS 202.275 and 212.185, a person who violates any of the provisions of:

      (a) Paragraph (a) or (c) of subsection 1 or subparagraph (2) of paragraph (d) of subsection 1 is guilty:

             (1) For the first offense, of a gross misdemeanor.

             (2) For any subsequent offense, of a category D felony and shall be punished as provided in NRS 193.130.

...

NRS 202.265  Possession of dangerous weapon on property or in vehicle of school or child care facility; penalty; exceptions.

      1.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, a person shall not carry or possess while on the property of the Nevada System of Higher Education, a private or public school or child care facility, or while in a vehicle of a private or public school or child care facility:

    ...

      (d) A blackjack or billy club or metal knuckles;

     ...

      2.  Any person who violates subsection 1 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

...

NRS 393.410  Damage to school property; nuisance; loitering; trespass; penalties.

      1.  It is unlawful for any person:

      (a) Willfully and maliciously to injure, mark or deface any public schoolhouse, its fixtures, books or appurtenances;

      (b) To commit any nuisance in any public schoolhouse;

      (c) To loiter on or near the school grounds; or

      (d) Purposely and maliciously to commit any trespass upon the grounds attached to a public schoolhouse, or any fixtures placed thereon, or any enclosure or sidewalk about the same.

      2.  Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, any person violating any of the provisions of this section is guilty of a public offense, as prescribed in NRS 193.155, proportionate to the value of the property damaged or destroyed and in no event less than a misdemeanor.

      3.  Any person who is in possession of a dangerous weapon during his or her commission of a violation of paragraph (b), (c) or (d) of subsection 1 is guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

      4.  As used in this section:

...

      (b) “Dangerous weapon” means:

...

             (4) A blackjack or billy club or metal knuckles; or

...

NRS 392.466  Suspension or expulsion of pupil for battery on employee of school, possession of firearm or dangerous weapon, sale or distribution of controlled substance or status as habitual disciplinary problem; modification to suspension or expulsion requirement; limitations for pupils with disabilities.

...
      2.  Except as otherwise provided in this section, any pupil who is found in possession of a firearm or a dangerous weapon while on the premises of any public school, at an activity sponsored by a public school or on any school bus must, for the first occurrence, be expelled from the school for a period of not less than 1 year, although the pupil may be placed in another kind of school for a period not to exceed the period of the expulsion. For a second occurrence, the pupil must be permanently expelled from the school and:

      (a) Enroll in a private school pursuant to chapter 394 of NRS, become an opt-in child or be homeschooled; or

      (b) Enroll in a program of independent study provided pursuant to NRS 389.155 for pupils who have been suspended or expelled from public school or a program of distance education provided pursuant to NRS 388.820 to 388.874, inclusive, if the pupil qualifies for enrollment and is accepted for enrollment in accordance with the requirements of the applicable program.

...
      9.  As used in this section:
...

      (b) “Dangerous weapon” includes, without limitation, a blackjack, slungshot, billy, sand-club, sandbag, metal knuckles, dirk or dagger, a nunchaku or trefoil, as defined in NRS 202.350, a butterfly knife or any other knife described in NRS 202.350, a switchblade knife as defined in NRS 202.265, or any other object which is used, or threatened to be used, in such a manner and under such circumstances as to pose a threat of, or cause, bodily injury to a person.

About the Author

Neil Shouse

Southern California DUI Defense attorney Neil Shouse graduated with honors from UC Berkeley and Harvard Law School (and completed additional graduate studies at MIT).

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