Can you open carry in a vehicle in Nevada?

Posted by Neil Shouse | Mar 16, 2020 | 0 Comments

People who are legally allowed to possess firearms may open carry handguns in a vehicle in Nevada. No permit or registration is required. The carrier just needs to make sure the vehicle is in a location where guns are permitted. The carrier also needs to make sure the gun remains visible to others.

In order to conceal carry handguns in vehicles, a current and valid CCW permit is required. Carrying a gun concealed without a permit (NRS 202.350) is a category C felony. The penalty includes:

Keeping - not carrying - guns in vehicles

"Carrying" refers to keeping a gun on one's body. So no CCW permit is required to keep a gun out-of-sight under the seat or in the glove box, trunk, case, bag, etc. It is also legal to keep guns in plain view. Examples include on the seat or in the center console or cup holder.

Note that it is not legal to keep a loaded rifle or shotgun in the car (with few exceptions). Long guns can have a loaded magazine. But they may not have a cartridge in the chamber.

Generally, it is legal to keep loaded handguns in a car. But note that Red Rock National Conservation Area prohibits having loaded firearms (in cars or while carrying).

Prohibited gun carriers

State and federal laws forbid certain people from possessing guns, in vehicles or otherwise. These include:

  • People convicted of felonies
  • People convicted of domestic violence
  • Fugitives from justice
  • People adjudicated as mentally incompetent
  • Undocumented citizens
  • People dishonorably discharged from the armed forces
  • People who renounced their American citizenship
  • Drug users and addicts

Being an ex-felon in possession of a firearm (NRS 202.360) is a category B felony. The penalty includes:

  • 1 - 6 years in prison, and
  • Up to $5,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)

Prohibited locations

There are certain places where guns are prohibited in Nevada, even in parking lots. Examples include (with some exceptions):

  • Post offices;
  • Public schools;
  • Child care facilities; and
  • Nevada System of Higher Education: UNLV, UNR, College of Southern Nevada, Desert Research Institute, Great Basin College, Nevada State College, Truckee Meadows Community College, and Western Nevada College

People may be able to get written permission to carry guns in these locations from the owner or another person of authority. But this is rarely done.

Traffic stops

People have no duty to inform police during traffic stops that they have a firearm. But people who are carrying concealed must present their CCW permit if asked.


It is a misdemeanor to drive while under the influence with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher. (It becomes a felony if there was a serious injury or more than two prior DUIs in the last seven years). If the defendant also has a gun in the car, he/she faces the additional penalty of possessing a gun while under the influence (NRS 202.257). This is a misdemeanor, carrying:

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

The defendant may also have to forfeit the gun.

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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