NRS 202.255 - Setting a spring gun in Nevada

gun set to fire by using a spring (NRS 202.255)
NRS 202.255 prohibits setting up spring guns in Nevada.

NRS 202.255 is the Nevada firearm law that prohibits setting "a so-called trap, spring pistol, rifle, or other deadly weapon." It can be a gross misdemeanor or a felony depending on whether someone gets hurt.1


1. What is a spring gun?

A spring gun consists of a firearm rigged to go off when a triggering device -- usually a string -- is tripped. So if someone is walking and unknowingly stumbles over this string, the gun would automatically fire.

Setting a spring gun is illegal throughout Nevada. But there are some exceptions (discussed below in section 3).

2. What are the penalties?

The Nevada punishment for setting a spring gun depends on whether it causes injuries:

Injuries from setting a spring gun

 Nevada penalties

No injuries

Gross misdemeanor:

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

Non-fatal injury

Category B felony:

Fatal injury not amounting to murder

Category B felony:

  • 1 – 10 years in prison, and
  • Up to $10,000 in fines (at the judge's discretion)2

If someone died under murderous circumstances, setting the spring gun would be charged as murder (NRS 200.030). It is a category A felony that carries:

  • the death penalty (if any aggravating circumstances outweigh the mitigating ones);
  • life in prison without the possibility of parole;
  • life in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years; or
  • 50 years in prison with the possibility of parole after 20 years

3. Is setting a spring gun ever legal?

Yes, there are exceptions in Nevada. Agents or employees of governmental agencies may use loaded spring guns or set guns to kill:

  • Gophers,
  • Moles,
  • Coyotes, or
  • Other burrowing rodents or predatory animals
Magnifying glass over paper with the text criminal record.
Spring gun convictions are sealable in Nevada.

Any guns must be set at least 15 miles outside of the boundaries of any incorporated city or unincorporated town. And the agents or employees must first get permission from the property's owner, lessee, or administrator before setting the gun.3

4. Can the record be sealed?

Yes. NRS 202.255 convictions can be sealed after a predetermined wait time. And if the charge gets dismissed, there is no wait required to pursue a record seal.

Spring Gun conviction

Record seal wait-time in Nevada

Gross misdemeanor

2 years after the case ends

Category B felony

10 years after the case ends*

*This is assuming Nevada law considers NRS 202.255 to be a felony "crime of violence." The Nevada Supreme Court has not ruled on this issue yet, however. If NRS 202.255 is not a felony "crime of violence," then the waiting period is only 5 years after the case ends.

Dismissal (no conviction)


The record seal process can take up to a year from start to finish. Learn more about getting Nevada criminal records sealed

5. What are the immigration consequences?

Any firearm offense such as setting a spring gun is potentially deportable.5 Therefore, non-citizens facing gun charges should consult with an experienced lawyer right away. If the charge gets reduced or dismissed, the defendant may be able to remain in the U.S.

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Legal References

  1. NRS 202.255.
  2. Same.
  3. Same.
  4. NRS 179.245; NRS 179.255.
  5. 8 U.S.C. 1227(a)(2)(C).

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